LAGRANGE, Maine — Karen Stewart, the 41-year-old Prentiss Township woman who was mauled by an American bulldog mix Nov. 12 in LaGrange has been removed from a drug-induced coma at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and is aware of her injuries, according to a family member.
“She has seen her injuries, and she knows what’s going on. We told her,” Pammy Carlow of Clinton, Stewart’s stepsister, said Monday. “She’s taking it as well as expected.”
Doctors have been working to stabilize Stewart and reduce the infections she has in both arms, Carlow said.
“It’s possible she may lose one — her right arm — but they’re pretty sure they can save her left arm,” she said, adding that Stewart’s breathing tube has been removed.
Carlow said her stepsister is going to need extensive rehabilitation, both mental and physical.
Stewart had been visiting her friend Vaughn Adams of LaGrange when she was severely mauled by an unleashed American bulldog mix owned by Adam Bemis, 28, one of Adams’ neighbors. Stewart was bitten more than 20 times on her head, face, arms and legs.
The dog was euthanized last week to be tested for rabies. Bruce Hallett of Howland, animal control officer for LaGrange, said he learned Monday afternoon that the results were negative.
“That’s one less procedure she will have to go through,” he said.
Bemis has been charged with keeping a dangerous dog and may face additional charges, according to Lt. Wesley Hussey of the Maine State Police.
Carlow said she is “totally grateful” to Vaughn Adams for what he did to keep her conscious while waiting for emergency workers to arrive after the attack and to the staff at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where Stewart was airlifted after the mauling. “They did an awesome job to keep her alive,” she said.
Carlow said Stewart was happy to see her and Stewart’s brother, Francis Raymond Jr. of Clinton, over the weekend. She said Raymond “is tearing himself apart inside” because he can’t be with his sister full time. He has children at home to take care of.
The family wants to visit Stewart frequently, “but we can’t afford to just drive down there and drive right home the same night,” Carlow said.
Many people have expressed a desire to help Stewart, who is a very private person, but Carlow said the family planned to wait before they set up a fund with a bank.
“Until we can talk [more extensively] to Karen, we don’t know what she wants us to do,” she said.
Carlow said the family intends to wait and see what Stewart, who is on disability, needs before they do that.
“I really would like to say to all those people out there who are praying for her, we really appreciate it and Karen would, too,” Carlow said. “I told her there were a lot of people praying for her, and she shook her head yes.”