PREGNANT Point Fortin mother Kurleen Cooper underwent surgery for seven and a half hours on Tuesday night for doctors to reattach her right arm that was almost torn off during an attack by dogs.
While Cooper may regain use of her arm, her relatives said yesterday, her unborn baby may have been harmed during the surgery.
Her brother, James Cooper, told the Express: "She was moving her fingers and talking. Doctors said they took skin grafts from one of her legs and reattached the artery. They said they were getting a pulse where she wasn't getting any feeling before. But they said it was not concrete; it may fail, or may work and she will get use of her hand. But because they used a heavy anaesthetic, it may or may not harm the baby. They gave it a 50-50 chance of being harmed, but they (doctors) can't really tell what will happen."
Cooper, 36, was mauled by three dogs while walking along South Central Road where she lives on Tuesday morning. She had dropped two of her three children to school and was on her way home when she was attacked by three dogs, which police said belonged to fish vendor Ronnie Maharaj, also of South Central Road.
The dogs, mixed with the pitbull breed, bit her numerous times about her head, face, arms, ear, genitals and legs. Her right arm was almost ripped off, and Cooper fell into a drain at the roadside bleeding. She was rescued by a taxi-driver and residents from the area and taken to hospital.
Maharaj's wife, June Garib, yesterday visited the hospital but was unable to see Cooper.
Cooper's sister, Kurlet Cooper-Julien, said Garib knew her sister well from the neighbourhood.
"She said that the dogs knew Kurleen so this incident was a surprise," Julien told the Express.
Point Fortin Member of Parliament Paula Gopee-Scoon was allowed to visit the injured woman at hospital yesterday.
Police interviewed a 40-year-old employee of Maharaj's at the Point Fortin Police Station shortly after the incident.
Police said yesterday that an interview with Cooper was a major element in the case. Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitzroy Frederick said that investigators would look at forensic evidence in the case.
James Cooper, 33, said he was told his sister was still bleeding from her wounds.
"A nurse told me she (Cooper) lost a lot of blood and she is still bleeding from under her armpit. The dog bite on her eye did not harm it."
From the operating theatre, Cooper was taken to the High Dependency Unit, where she kept under 24-hour observation.
Her relatives said, some eight years ago, Cooper was burned about her body during a domestic dispute. She received burns on her face and upper body.