British teen has been left partially paralysed following a bison attack
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A British 19-year-old has been left partially paralysed after being attacked and thrown 15 feet into the air by a bison at a US nature reserve park.
Amelia Dean was attacked by the large male American bison seven weeks ago when she was on a hike with a friend and the friend's wolf-dog through Custer State Park, South Dakota.
The bison, which can weight up to 907kg, charged at Dean and pierced her left thigh with one of his horns. Her parents Matthew and Jacqueline Dean said the attack severed the femoral artery and damaged nerves in her lower leg and between her thighs.
The large animal stood near the teenager's head until her friend was able to lead it away and call the emergency services.
Her parents, from Surrey, said on a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for treatment that their daughter is still suffering from severe nerve pain and paralysis. They added she is currently only able to walk 20 yards (60 feet) without assistance.
"We are beyond fortunate that our daughter is still breathing, as she should have bled out in 2-8 minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn’t arrive for 20 minutes. It is a miracle that she is alive today."
Dean told local station KOTA-TV: “It’s a surreal enough experience let alone the fact that we weren’t doing anything that really warranted it. We were just having a walk in the park.”
The Brit said she and her friend saw the bison once they came over a hill. The pair were tired and dehydrated after giving the last of their water to the dog, so they decided to keep their distance and walk around the animal instead of turning around.
Despite being 100 yards away, the bison charged at her. “I remember feeling the pressure on my hip. My hip being pushed back and I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels."
The active teen said: "I think I hope this doesn’t discourage people from traveling. Travel and explore and have fun. This is a freak accident this isn’t going to happen every time somebody walks in a park. Hopefully."
The attack took place on the second day of Dean's US road trip. The 19-year-old was due to start studying at the University of Edinburgh next month.
Her parents said the current hospital does not have the expertise to examine the injury with indications it is a 'highly complex' nerve wound. They added Dean's travel insurance will not cover for her examinations.
The hope is for the teen to be treated by a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, which has a world-class hospital in the peripheral nerve field.
The initial tests alone for the teen's injury will cost the family about $8,000 (£6,600) excluding the cost for possible surgeries needed. The GoFundMe has so far raised more than £24,800 ($30,000).