Christmas is another op for Angus, 15
Mauled by a dog 10 years ago
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.