The plaintiff, a Massachusetts licensed neuro- psychiatrist, and her husband, arrived at the home of the plaintiff’s sister to meet the defendants’ newly adopted dog, which was a Dalmatian. The plaintiff and her husband entered her sister’s home and the plaintiff warmly greeted the dog. When the plaintiff bent down to hand the dog a toy to play with, the dog suddenly and without warning lunged toward the plaintiff’s face. The dog managed to bite off a sizable portion of the plaintiff’s nose. The plaintiff was initially unaware of the extent of her injuries and was originally under the impression that the dog’s head had simply struck her nose during the attack. It was not until she and her husband went into the defendant’s bathroom to inspect her nose that the plaintiff realized the severity of her injuries. The plaintiff and her husband were horrified to learn that the dog had amputated a significant portion of her left nostril during the attack.
After making this discovery, the plaintiff began to feel extremely light-headed and fainted while in the bathroom. Emergency medical services were called to the house. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the plaintiff’s sister located the amputated portion of the plaintiff’s nose and placed it in a jar of tap water. The plaintiff’s sister believed that this would preserve the rescued tissue until the plaintiff arrived at the hospital, thus making it easier for the doctor to reattach it to the plaintiff’s face. Unfortunately, in order to preserve the tissue, the plaintiff’s sister should have placed the amputated portion of the plaintiff’s nose in saline or packed it in ice. The tap water that it was placed in caused the tissue to swell, which further complicated the grafting process.
Despite this complication, the plaintiff still underwent initial surgery which resulted in the re-attachment of the severed tissue to the plaintiff’s nose. In addition to this surgery, the plaintiff also underwent a number of other painful scar revision surgeries designed to improve the visual appearance of her nose.
The incident, including the disfigurement occasioned by the loss of considerable tissue, left the patient with a significant amount of physical and emotional pain. The patient felt depressed and distant from her husband as a result of her traumatic experience.
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