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Service dog allowed to remain with 7-year-old patient during surgery

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Duke University Medical Center is one of the best medical facilities in the United States. On Wednesday, the center allowed it's first dog ever in the operating room during the procedure on a young patient, ABC11 reported December 18.

Kaelyn "KK" Krawczyk is a 7-year-old girl who suffers from mast cell activation disorder. This condition, although considered rare, makes KK susceptible to severe drops in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

Because of this, her family wanted to get a service dog that could alert them when KK was about to have one of her episodes. Enter JJ, who was located for the Krawczyk family through a nonprofit group called Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Paws. JJ, a two-year-old terrier mix, was trained by the organization 18 months ago.

The little dog is able to detect an odor KK would put out alerting her family that an episode was coming on. Sometimes JJ could predict trouble long before any visible symptoms showed the young girl was in trouble.

Anytime a problem is detected, JJ will jump on KK, tug at her clothes and bark. JJ is even more skilled at detecting a problem than a monitor, her mom Michelle Krawczyk told ABC11. Michelle explained the relief her family has felt since JJ joined the family saying

"We can sleep, which we didn't do well before because we always worried she'd have a reaction she didn't wake up from."

That's why when KK underwent kidney surgery on Wednesday, JJ was allowed close by for the procedure. Even the anesthesia used during the procedure could have caused a reaction, so it was essential for the little dog to be close at hand.

Dr. Brad Taicher, the anesthesiologist reported the 45-minute operation was a success. Surgery was performed in a procedure room, and JJ was given a bath prior to operation, and his trainer, Deb Cunningham was allowed to accompany the little watchdog. The chance of KK getting an infection by her dog was in the room were very slim.

JJ did show concern at the beginning as well as the end of the procedure, but nothing to alarm anyone in the room. KK is now recovering with her dog by her side. The doctor's were so impressed JJ that they'll take this into consideration on a case by case basis, should another patient need a "doggy monitor."

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