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Doctors save 9-year-old boy after family dog destroys his biceps

Austyn Clanton was fighting with his brother when their American bulldog bit him in the arm.

HOUSTON — A 9-year-old boy from Beaumont is recovering at Memorial Hermann hospital after he was bitten in the arm by his family dog.

Doctors had to perform complex surgery to fix it but ran into another complication along the way.

Austyn Clanton was fighting with his brother when their American bulldog bit him in the arm.

"It was chaos," said Austyn's father, Brad.

Brad Clanton knows chaos all too well from his days as a Navy Corpsman.

”I’ve seen trauma. I’ve seen chaos, but it’s different when it’s your child," he said.

Austyn’s arm was clenched in the jaws of their family dog.

"(He) was shaking this arm up and down and up and down," Austyn said.

”When it’s your own kid, you just freeze," Brad Clanton said.

When he arrived at Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, pediatric surgeons said Austyn’s left biceps were 90 percent gone.

”The muscle had really been damaged beyond repair," said Dr. Phuong Nguyen, a pediatric surgeon with Memorial Hermann/UTHealth.

Austyn went into surgery where doctors used part of his back muscle to replace his damaged biceps.

Six hours later, Austyn was recovering.

”Two days later, we got a phone call emergency," Dr. Nguyen said.

Austyn was losing blood due to a torn artery from the original dog bite.

”If that tear had happened at home, there’s a potential that he would not have made it – potential that he would have lost his arm, and if the bleeding continued, possible that he would have died," Dr. Nguyen said.

Doctors took Austyn in for another surgery. This time, doctors used parts of a vein in Austyn’s leg to fix the damaged one in his arm.

"You can’t imagine being a parent and going through this roller coaster," Dr. Nguyen said.

Now Austyn is recovering, but doctors said he has a long road ahead.

"We’re just glad we have him and his arm and a functioning arm on top of that," Brad Clanton said.

Doctors hope to send Austyn home as soon as Friday.


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