Medical dog 'assists' during surgery

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NORTH CAROLINA — Doctors at North Carolina's Duke University Medical Center sought the help of a one-of-a-kind specialist Thursday.

No, this wasn't your typical expert — this one has four legs and is covered in fur.

The dog's name is J.J. and she lives with and helps 7-year-old Kaelyn Krawczyk, known as K.K., who suffers from a rare disorder in which simple things like being too hot can trigger severe reactions like a drop in blood pressure or trouble breathing.

"She can go from just a normal every day activity to a life threatening event in a matter of no time," said Krawczyk's mom, Michelle.

Since J.J. has been trained to sense changes in Krawczyk's body, doctors decided to let her four-legged friend go into the operating room to assist during a medical procedure when Krawczyk had to be put under general anesthesia.

"It struck us that J.J. is really just an additional monitor that provides information about what's going on with K.K.," said Dr. Brad Taicher of Duke University Medical Center.

The procedure went as planned, and J.J. clearly knew it was going well.

"She is the reason why we can sleep at night, she is the reason why K.K. can have a more normal life," said mom Michelle.

All went well during Thursday's procedure which was intended to help prevent recurrent infections in Krawczyk.

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