Dog Plays Critical Role In O.R. During Girl's Surgery
It's an unusual sight to say the least—a dog in an operating room. But this is no ordinary dog. JJ the Terrier could mean the difference between life and death for the little girl undergoing life-changing surgery.
Seven-year-old Kaelyn was born with a rare disorder called mastocytosis that can cause potentially fatal allergic reactions when Kaelyn is too hot, too cold, or gets stressed out. The attacks occur without warning and JJ is trained to detect them. So, wherever Kaelyn goes, JJ is always by her side. Day and night, she is vigilant, waiting for the warning signs. And sure enough, as our camera was rolling, Kaelyn suffered an attack.
Kaelyn's mom told INSIDE EDITION, "That means that she's starting to have a little reaction."
On the surface, she looks just fine, but JJ detects subtle changes in Kaelyn's body chemistry. She barks and jumps around to alert Kaelyn's mom, Michelle, and even runs to fetch a medical kit from under the kitchen sink.
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"She's the reason why we sleep at night now. We know that she's watching over Kay Kay," said Kaelyn's mom.
Believe it or not, this remarkable dog was actually abandoned at a local shelter. She was rescued and trained by Deb Cunningham, who also trains dogs to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetics or to detect when epileptics are about to have a seizure.
JJ's senses are so keen, she can tell when little Kaelyn is in danger before a doctor can.
That's why, when Kaelyn underwent bladder surgery at prestigious Duke University Children's Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, there was no question, JJ had to be there.
It's the first time a medical alert dog has been permitted in a procedure room.
Dr. Brad Taicher, anesthesiologist told INSIDE EDITION, "It's very cool to have a dog like JJ working with us. It's humbling to have someone who can provide information to you that you simply have no other way of ascertaining."
The surgery went off without a hitch and as Kaelyn was wheeled to the recovery room, her loyal pet followed right behind. A four-legged angel this little girl can't live without.