New Jersey Dog Bite Doctor – Whom And When To Call
Call a doctor whenever someone in your family is bitten by a dog in New Jersey. Very often, animal bites are more than just simple wounds – they can lead to a host of health problems such as infections and tissue damage. Who Do You Call When You Get Bit By A Dog? When do you need a doctor for a dog bite, and what type of doctor should you call?
A New Jersey emergency room physician, a general practitioner, or a family practitioner are all qualified to treat a dog bite. A doctor should look at any dog bite that breaks the skin. Even a harmless-looking puncture can open up the body to bacterial infections, rabies, or tetanus. Medical attention is particularly important if the bite is from an unfamiliar dog, as the dog’s immunization history is unknown. Further, if the victim has a weakened immune system, it’s best not to risk complications – visit your doctor right away.
If the bite is from your own pet and you are confident that the dog has complete immunization, you may opt to watch for symptoms first before calling a doctor. Perform first aid by washing the wound with soap and water, or a saline solution if available, then apply pressure on the area to minimize bleeding.
See a doctor if:
- Bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of applied pressure.
- There is redness or swelling that does not go away after 24 hours.
- There is pus from or around the wound.
What kind of medical professional should you call for a dog bite? You can contact an ER doctor for an immediate response, or you can visit your general physician or family practice doctor. Each is qualified to perform wound care and to make decisions on further treatment.
If the dog attack is severe – involving multiple bites and/or large or deep wounds – call 911 right away.
A victim in a severe case will likely need an emergency medical team plus certain specialists. For instance, if the bite caused damage to deep tissues such as nerves, muscles, joints, and bones, an orthopedist or orthopedic surgeon should work on the case. If skin grafting is needed, a plastic surgeon may have to perform aesthetic or reconstructive surgery. A neurologist may also be called in if there is a potential rabies infection.
Apart from these, you might need to consult a mental health professional after a particularly traumatic animal attack. The scientific community acknowledges that a dog bite is one experience that can lead to psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Don’t hesitate to see a psychologist or psychotherapist if you have lingering fears or intense anxiety following your dog bite incident.
These important treatments can be life-saving but they can also be costly. If your dog bite was due to another pet owner or handler, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. For your legal options in New Jersey, call The Grossman Law Firm at (732) 625-9494. We have successfully obtained full compensation for many individuals and families who have suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of others.
Getting Stitches for Dog Bite in New Jersey
Does an NJ dog bite victim need sutures or stitches? Many might be surprised to know that not all dog bite wounds require medical stitches. In fact, in some cases, suturing may do more harm than good. It is up to the doctor to determine whether or not the injury calls for sutures, but in general, it depends on the type of dog bite injury and if there is a risk of infection.
Your physician may recommend stitching if the dog bite wound:
- Is deep with jagged edges
- Gapes open
- Goes down to the fat, muscle, bone, or other deep tissues
- Continues to bleed after 15 minutes of direct pressure
- Is on the face, lips, or any area where scarring may be a concern. (Sutures may decrease the unpleasant look of bite scars.)
On the other hand, don’t worry if your doctor chooses not to suture your dog bite. While it is true that the longer a wound stays open, the greater the risk of infection, suturing may also increase that risk. This is because bacteria could cluster and fester in that one isolated area of the body. A dog bite on the hand or foot, for example, maybe left without stitches because these are areas with a high risk of infection.
Your physician may instead close the wound with a skin adhesive, or if the wound can heal on its own, the doctor may only prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections.
Overall, there is no medical consensus yet on when dog bite stitches are necessary. However, GP doctors and ER physicians are qualified to make this decision for every dog bite case. Do not delay calling a doctor, even if your bite wound looks minor.
Keep in mind that apart from suturing, there are other medical procedures that the doctor may recommend for a significant dog bite wound. If the bite is particularly deep, anesthesia may be needed so the physician can examine the wound further. A large bite may also require skin grafting or even nerve grafting surgeries. Many dog bite cases actually rack up medical costs amounting to thousands of dollars.
Monetary compensation is possible if you got bitten and seriously injured by a dog due to its owner’s or handler’s negligence. New Jersey is one of the states with strict laws regarding dog owner liability. Talk to us at The Grossman Law Firm by calling (732) 625-9494 to see how you may be compensated for your dog bite injury.
About Grossman Law
For over 20 years, Personal Injury Attorney Scott Grossman has been fighting for the rights of the injured throughout New Jersey. He has helped thousands obtain their fair and just monetary compensation to pay for medical treatment, pain and suffering, and more. Mr. Grossman and his legal team truly care about their clients and provide each with devoted and individual personal attention. Whether you have been the victim of an NJ motor vehicle accident, trucking accident, dog bite, brain injury, construction accident, pharmacy error, wrongful death, workplace injury or any other type of injury, we are here to help you recover the fair and just compensation you truly deserve.