Peterborough care home nurse nearly died after having arm bitten off by huge rescue dog

Sue Scarlett. Photo: SWNS
Sue Scarlett. Photo: SWNS
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A care home nurse in Peterborough has described how she had her arm bitten off by a huge rescue dog which savaged her in an attack which “seemed to last for hours.”

Sue Scarlett (64) was badly hurt by the 90kg - 14 stone - cross-bred animal while cleaning its kennel and looked down to the ground to see her “right hand on the floor”.

Sue with pilot Martin Polding (left), Dr Antonia Hazlerigg and a paramedic from the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Photo: SWNS

Sue with pilot Martin Polding (left), Dr Antonia Hazlerigg and a paramedic from the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Photo: SWNS

Sue was set on by the dog in Wisbech last October when the animal locked its teeth around her arm.

Despite two people trying to get the dog off her hand the male dog gripped onto her wrist with his teeth and would not let go.

The grandmother, who described the dog having a grey and black brindle coat with paws the size of her hand, said: “I shouted to him to let go but he just held on tighter.

“After what seemed like hours my husband heard me and tried to pull the dog away but was unable to do so.

“I remember thinking that I would have a few broken bones when he finished.

“But at that time I looked down and saw my right hand lying on the concrete in a pool of blood.”

Sue, who is a nurse at Ashlynn Grange care home, in Bretton Gate, shouted at the dog to let go but he continued to “gnaw” at her arm.

She said she had to go on her knees to push the kennel gate against him because she “knew that if he got into the kennel he would kill her”.

Sue screamed for her husband, who was also helping to look after the other dogs, to call for an ambulance and police as her friend tried to get the dog off her arm.

After a couple of minutes the dog eventually let go and they were able to isolate him in the kennel.

Sue added: “As a nurse I knew that I was in big trouble so told my husband that he needed to put a tourniquet - compressing device - above the wound, which he did using his jacket.

“My friend and my husband held my arm in the air to try and prevent more blood loss and continued to do so until a paramedic took over.”

The East Anglian Air Ambulance arrived at the scene along with two doctors, a paramedic and police.

Sue, from Wisbech, said: “I don’t remember much else about the journey or going into the hospital or the emergency surgery which was needed to save my life.

“But what I know is that, without a shadow of a doubt, without the swift action and interventions of the East Anglian Air Ambulance crew I would not be here today.

“I might have lost part of my arm but I am alive and will always be grateful to the crew.”

Police attended the scene and waited for a vet to arrive to put the dog to sleep.

An East Anglian Air Ambulance spokesperson said: “The Anglia Two team of Dr Pam Chrispin, Dr Antonia Hazlerigg, CCP Mark Milsom and pilots Rosh Jaypalan and Martin Polding were tasked at 12.24pm and arrived on scene in Wisbech at 12.46pm.

“The clinical team provided IV Access and haemorrhage control, dressing and splintage to Sue’s arm.

“They administered pain relief and antibiotics at the scene before packaging Sue and flying her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, arriving at 1.39pm.”

Sue is now volunteering to help raise funds “that are needed to keep these heroes and heroines in the air” as East Anglian Air Ambulance is not government funded.

She will be taking part in The Big Leap, the tandem skydiving event, in May.

Sue was forced to give up work for the last six months while recovering from her injuries.

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