Christ­mas is an­other op for An­gus, 15

Mauled by a dog 10 years ago

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WENDYL MARTIN

A PAARL teenager who was mauled by a dog when he was five is spend­ing Christ­mas in hos­pi­tal af­ter he braved his 31st op­er­a­tion to re­con­struct the dam­age caused by the at­tack.

And med­i­cal staff gave their time and ser­vices free of charge.

An­gus Ma­capela, 15, was pos­i­tive and in high spir­its be­fore he was wheeled into the­atre yes­ter­day for a 10-hour op­er­a­tion ar­ranged by Op­er­a­tion Smile, South Africa’s World Care Pro­gramme.

When he was five, An­gus was mauled by a neigh­bour’s dog when he climbed over the fence to watch TV with his friend next door.

Yes­ter­day’s op­er­a­tion was per­formed by Dr Con­rad Pien­aar, a plas­tic sur­geon at Vin­cent Pal­lotti and sur­gi­cal vol­un­teers for Op­er­a­tion Smile. Pien­aar was as­sisted by other plas­tic sur­geons, anaes­the­si­ol­o­gists and nurses, who all vol­un­teered their ser­vices.

Pros­the­sist Stephan Kritzinger re­con­structed the teenager’s right ear with syn­thetic sil­i­cone, also done free of charge.

Pien­aar said the surgery would re­move re­stric­tive tis­sue that is pulling An­gus’s eye and mouth to the right. Then they would be build­ing up miss­ing cheek bone and his lower jaw and re­con­struct his right cheek. Kritzinger would then re­con­struct his right ear.

The Week­end Ar­gus vis­ited An­gus and his fam­ily ear­lier this week at their home at the El­riche Es­tate in Paarl where the ac­ci­dent took place.

Re­call­ing the at­tack, An­gus ex­plained he had to climb over a fence to get into the neigh­bour’s house as the front door was locked. Be­fore climb­ing over the wall, the neigh­bour said he would hold his dog. As he climbed over, the neigh­bour grabbed An­gus’s foot caus­ing him to fall. The dog then at­tacked.

“I didn’t feel the pain. My sis­ter ran to call for help. Some- one sprayed water on the dog to get him off. My sis­ter car­ried me home and I was driven to hos­pi­tal,” she says.

Af­ter the at­tack An­gus was ab­sent from school for six months as he un­der­went a se­ries of op­er­a­tions.

Upon re­turn­ing to school, his mother Cyn­thia learnt he had dif­fi­culty so­cial­is­ing with chil­dren.

An­gus said: “It was awk­ward. The chil­dren kept look­ing at me. I felt kind of alone.”

An­gus now at­tends Bridge House Pri­mary school in Fran­schhoek. His prin­ci­pal at the school, Melvin King, spear­headed the ef­forts to find An­gus help when his fam­ily’s fund­ing dried up.

Upon be­ing of­fered the surgery, Cyn­thia said An­gus had made up his mind to un­dergo fur­ther op­er­a­tions. “Be­fore the last op­er­a­tion four years ago, we said it would be the last one. But he de­cided he wanted to do this,” she said.

“I wanted this. It was an op­por­tu­nity… This is nor­mal for me now, it is like go­ing to school… I have ac­cepted this will not be the last one.” said An­gus.

Although doc­tors say he will have to stay in hos­pi­tal for 14 days An­gus is de­ter­mined to be out in three.

The young man, who dreams of study­ing in Utah and be­com­ing an IT man­ager, will spend Christ­mas Day in hos­pi­tal with his fam­ily.

Cyn­thia said af­ter church, they hoped to bring him turkey and gammon for Christ­mas din­ner – and a gift.

An­gus said he was hop­ing for a PS3.

An ac­tive pupil at school, he plays foot­ball and tennis and does rock climb­ing.

His ad­vice for other chil­dren who may be pre­par­ing for surgery: “Don’t give up. Keep hop­ing and pray­ing.”

At the time of go­ing to press An­gus was still in surgery.


FAC­ING THE FU­TURE: An­gus Ma­capela, who has un­der­gone re­con­struc­tive surgery to his face af­ter be­ing mauled by a dog 10 years ago. With him are his brother, Orion, and fa­ther, God­frey.

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