SAN DIEGO – The mother of a 2-month-old infant who was savagely attacked by a pit bull said a team of top doctors has done an amazing job treating the baby.
Xochitl Gonzalez spoke with news media Wednesday afternoon outside Rady Children’s Hospital, where her baby, Jemma-Linda, was taken after the attack Monday afternoon. The baby was in the backyard of her home on Irving Avenue near Sicard Street at about 2:30 p.m. Monday when a neighbor’s pit bull attacked and clamped the child’s head in his jaws.
“When she first got here, she lost so much blood, and she had a blood transfusion, but now all the swelling is going down,” Gonzalez said. “She’s opening her eyes. Her MRI came out clear. There are no other internal injuries that we’re aware of at this time. The plastic surgeons, and the neural surgeon and all the doctors have been the top ones available, and they have done an amazing job on her.”
For the time being, no more surgeries are needed, and the baby is recovering, her mother said.
“Before I came out here, she was opening her eyes and wiggling her body, so she’s not paralyzed anywhere. Her pupils don’t have any injuries that we’re aware of — any punctures or scratches. Her tear duct did get ripped out, and they’re trying to do a meeting and find out how will they reconstruct that part of her body,” Gonzalez said.
The dog’s bite punctured little Jemma-Linda’s skull and brain, but the doctors believe that at 2 months old she is young enough to heal without permanent brain damage. They hope she won’t have any permanent mental or physical disabilities from the vicious attack.
“They said for sure she’s going to need plastic surgery in the future, which was very shocking for me, but I’m trying to accept everything and move forward and be thankful that she’s alive,” the mother said. “For the most part it’s a blessing, and she’s nothing but a strong, brave, amazing, miraculous little being.”
Gonzalez expressed thanks for the expert care her daughter has received from the medical team and the hospital staff, and she thanked the public for the messages of love and support that she has received. She said she is incredibly thankful and relieved that her daughter has made it this far.
“It was life-threatening in the beginning, and I thought my daughter was gone. I never imagined once that a child could get through something like this.”
A GoFundMe page has been created by the baby’s older sister to help cover her medical expenses.
The pit bull that attacked Jemma-Linda was euthanized at the request of its owner.