Professional skateboarder and model Brooklyn Khoury recently took to TikTok to show before and after images of her smile after a severe dog bite injury.
The attack occurred in November 2020, when a pit bull injured Khoury’s face, damaging her upper lip and part of her nose. Khoury eventually lost her upper lip, which had to be reconstructed by surgeons. Surgery was also required to repair damage to her nose. To date, Khoury has had several surgeries to repair the damage, and she still has scars from the dog attack.
Khoury’s decision to share the images was prompted by a follower who asked if she could “smile as bright” in the wake of the attack.
“I know when I smile now it’s different from how I smiled before,” Khoury said on TikTok. She explained that the results of the reconstructive surgery she required have changed the way she smiles, including how her teeth show in photos.
Khoury has shared information and images freely on her social media accounts following the November 2020 dog attack. She’s talked about how emotionally and physically difficult recovery has been. She’s even shared stories about her steps related to recovery, such as video footage of a visit to makeup store Sephora, where an artist used makeup to help redefine Khoury’s upper lip area.
Khoury says that she hopes her smile will continue to change as she recovers and that eventually it will look more like her pre-attack face.
Although Khoury has been able to find hope and support through her journey, injuries like hers are difficult to face. Multiple surgeries and doctors’ visits, pain, scarring, fear, and uncertainty about the future are all common experiences following a dog bite injury.
Chicago ranked eighth on the US Postal Service’s list of cities with the highest rate of dog bite incidents in 2021.
Although the USPS only tracks dog bites involving mail carriers, Illinois also sees a higher-than-average rate of dog bites each year. In 2021, insurance carrier State Farm saw 290 dog bite claims from Illinois and paid a total of $16.6 million. In State Farm’s statistics, Illinois ranked second only to California for both the number and overall cost of dog bite insurance claims.
About 4.5 million US residents suffer a dog bite every year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Deaths from dog bites are rare. Between 2005 and 2019, dog bites caused 521 deaths in the US – and millions of injuries.
Pit bulls commonly appear in reports and medical charts concerning dog bites. Illinois ranks in the top ten states for deaths from pit bull-related dog bites. Overall, pit bulls were involved in two-thirds (66 percent) of all dog attack deaths between 2005 and 2019.
Pit bulls are also over-represented in studies of severe injuries to the face and skull. A 2021 study of bite injuries suffered by children, for instance, found that one-third (37 percent) of the injured patients had been injured by a pit bull, while about one in eight (13 percent) said their injuries came from a “mixed breed” dog.
Although pit bulls receive a lot of attention in dog bite literature, any breed of dog may bite or inflict injuries during an attack. Another study of dog breeds and dog bite injuries found that Labradors and German Shepherds were also commonly named as the source of dog attack injuries.
In addition, these researchers found no relationship between the breed of the dog and the severity of the injury. Instead, they found that dogs of any breed or breed combination can cause dog attack injuries that require surgery to repair.
Dog bite attacks can also be expensive. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that the average dog bite claim in 2021 cost $49,025. Severe dog bite injuries like Khoury’s may require several surgeries and intensive medical treatment to correct.
In 2018, nearly 27,000 people in the US needed reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by a dog bite. These surgeries focus on restoring function and minimizing the appearance of damage. Permanent scars often result, however, either from the dog attack itself or from the surgery required to address the resulting damage. Surgeries that require a hospital stay can be even more costly.
While dog bite attacks are rarely fatal, the pain and scarring they cause may last a lifetime. If you’ve been injured, talk to the caring and experienced attorneys at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.