8-year-old boy undergoes 7 surgeries after being mauled by dog

By Mary Ann Martinez, Reporter

HOUSTON - A series of operations by doctors in Houston has saved the life of an 8-year-old Beaumont boy who was mauled by a dog.

Austyn Clanton has undergone seven surgeries since Saturday's attack -- all to reconstruct his bicep.

"Me and my big brother were fighting," Austyn said, recounting the incident. "The American bulldog jumped on me. He started biting and scratching."

Austyn was rushed to a hospital in Beaumont, but was later transferred to Children's Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.

"We borrowed muscle from his back, the latissimus muscle and skin that was on top of that muscle," said Dr. Phuong Nguyen, recalling the surgeries.

It was a successful six-hour operation, but then, an artery in his arm burst and nearly killed him. Surgeons then had to reconstruct the blood vessel, which was about a millimeter in width.

"(We borrowed) some veins and arteries nearby to stack them on top of each other with the use of a microscope," Nguyen said.

Austyn has no idea how close he came to losing his arm. He joked he wouldn't mind losing his arm so long as he could have a bionic one instead.

Doctors said Austyn could go home Friday. If all goes well, he will be able to use his arm normally and even flex his new bicep.

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