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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Dog attack girl 'almost died'
Leah Preston
Leah will need help to walk again after the attack
The surgeon treating Leah Preston, the youngster mauled by two dogs, has said she almost died from her injuries.

Five-year-old Leah is in Birmingham Children's Hospital where she has undergone two explorative operations on wounds suffered during the attack.

Leah was playing in her front garden in Hawsford Crescent, Low Hill, Wolverhampton, when she was attacked by two bull mastiff cross-breeds last week.

Consultant plastic surgeon Hiroshi Nishikawa said the main femoral artery in one of Leah's legs was exposed by the bite wounds suffered during the attack.

'Out of danger'

Mr Nishikawa said: "I think she could quite easily have been killed."

Leah went back into theatre for further skin grafts to her legs and buttocks on Monday.

Hiroshi Nishikawa
Leah's injuries were the worst her surgeon had seen

Mr Nishikawa added: "She is fine, she is remarkably well considering the extent of the injuries she sustained.

"She is stable and talking. Her mother is very happy that Leah is out of danger now and glad, also, that she has few real facial injuries, as she is such a pretty girl."

Mr Nishikawa said it was unlikely that Leah would undergo further plastic surgeon for the time being.

It is hoped that she will be discharged from the hospital within weeks rather than months.

'Cosmetic defects'

He said: "She is not out of the woods yet in the sense that her wounds can still become infected.

"She will be left with major cosmetic defects to the back of her legs and buttocks."

Leah will have the dressings on her wounds changed on Friday before embarking on a rehabilitation programme to help her walk again.

The two dogs, which turned on their owner Jean Harvey and her two young children, when she tried to stop the attack, have been put down.

It is believed that they had escaped from a metal cage.


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20 May 02 | England
12 Apr 02 | Scotland
02 Jun 00 | Europe
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