Kaydence Jakubowski is fighting for her life after the little girl was mauled by a dog Friday night at a cookout and swimming party in Hanover Twp.
The 4-year-old from Wilkes-Barre Twp. has a blood clot near her brainstem and a carotid artery aneurysm. Her right side is paralyzed and she may never be able to talk again after her vocal cord was pierced by the dog’s teeth, according to her parents.
“She was a perfect, healthy little girl. One freak accident and it changed her for the rest of her life,” the girl’s mother, Casey Iorio, 27, said Wednesday during a phone call from the girl’s bedside.
Meanwhile, the dog, an AKITA — a breed described as “large, powerful and alert” by the American Kennel Club — is slated to be euthanized as a result of the unprovoked attack, officials said.
Kaydence, who has autism, is being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she is heavily sedated and remains in critical condition.
She was taken there after suffering a stroke just hours after her release from Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Twp., her mother said.
After arriving at Geisinger around 10:30 p.m. Friday with bloody facial and neck wounds, Kaydence was given stitches and a prescription for an antibiotic before being released around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Iorio said.
“I asked them to keep her overnight. I asked them to do a CAT scan. They said it’s not necessary for a dog bite,” Iorio said.
Officials for Geisinger said they could not comment about the case due to patient privacy provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
“Our thoughts are with Kaydence and her family. Unfortunately, due to HIPAA laws, we’re unable to comment at this time,” hospital spokeswoman Megan Sobieski said.
Kaydence is expected to be at CHOP — a specialized pediatric hospital in Philadelphia — for at least several months.
Iorio and Kaydence’s father, Matthew Jakubowski, cancelled their wedding set for September and they’ve stopped working.
Several family members and friends have organized fundraisers, including a GoFundMe account online, to help them.
Meanwhile, one of the dog’s owners, a close family friend who is Kaydence’s godfather, is having the dog euthanized rather than face an investigation under Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog law. Investigations can lead to charges or sanctions when dogs attack without provocation, the region’s dog warden James Spencer said.
“That’s the plan. He’s under quarantine right now,” Spencer said.
Iorio did not want to identify the owners of the dog, saying they are good friends who feel awful about what happened. She said the dog got loose from its cage and then she heard other children start to scream.
“By the time I got up, and got to Kaydence, which wasn’t far, the dog latched onto her,” Iorio said. “The blood started squirting everywhere from her neck.”
An ambulance took Kaydence to the Geisinger hospital in Plains Twp.
“They gave her stitches and sent her home without any testing,” Iorio said.
The next morning, after Kaydence awoke, she tried to get up and walk, but she couldn’t. They returned to Geisinger, sensing something was wrong. After initial evaluations, doctors were planning on sending the little girl to Geisinger’s children’s hospital in Danville, but further tests revealed her condition was more dire than initially thought, her mother said.
“They said, ‘We are sending her to CHOP in Philly. She had a stroke,’” Iorio said.
Kaydence was to be airlifted to CHOP, but bad weather forced emergency crews to drive her in an ambulance. The girl was initially on a ventilator, but she’s now breathing on her own, her mother said.
Kaydence’s story has been getting a lot of attention on social media and the family is getting offers of assistance from around the country.
“The help she is getting is outstanding. I didn’t expect it to be this big,” Iorio said.