5 Mar 2014

ACC to cover mauled girl's costs

10:13 pm on 5 March 2014

All medical costs for the young Japanese girl badly injured by four dogs in the Bay of Plenty will be covered by ACC.

Ninety percent of Sakurako Uehara's face, as well as her legs, arms, and body was attacked by four Staffordshire bull terrier crosses while she was visiting family friends on a semi-rural property in Murupara on Monday.

Her family remained by her side at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Wednesday, where she is in a critical but stable condition after extensive surgery. A hospital spokesperson says her ongoing treatment will involve surgery up to three times a week.

The Accident Compensation Corporation moved to clarify the situation on Wednesday, after the hospital said it would start a donation line to help support the girl as she didn't qualify for state-funded care.

ACC says the girl is covered under a scheme that looks after overseas visitors injured in New Zealand and it will cover the costs of all of her medical care including surgery. It said Sakurako may also be entitled to further funding down the track, depending on her injury-related needs.

The principal of a Maori immersion school attended by the girl said it has set up an appeal to help her and her family.

Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau principal Pem Bird said Sakurako Uehara spent some time at the school in the past month. He said the school community was praying for her and her family.

Before the attack, Sakurako and her family had been due to fly back to Japan on Wednesday and had then intended to return to live in Murupara, he said.

Mr Bird told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme both the girl's family and the dogs' owners are at the hospital.

He said he knows one of the dogs' owners who was a caring person and would be devastated by the attack. Police have said the owners took immediate steps for the animals to be put down.