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Dog helps woman lick brain injury

By jim Published: July 17, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Mary Phillips admits she had a frosty relationship with Jacque Pierre, a co-worker's Maltese poodle. That is until the day he saved her life by licking her head.

The unlikely gesture, Phillips said, convinced her to go to the emergency room where doctors discovered a brain aneurysm the size of a walnut.

Aneurysms — bulging, blood-filled vessels — are classified as small, large and giant, said Dr. Michael Chicoine, a neurosurgeon at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Phillips' aneurysm was giant and appeared to have been leaking because there was blood in her spinal fluid. He performed a 10-hour surgery to insert clips across arteries feeding the aneurysm to stem the blood flow before it re-ruptured.

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