“The Night of the Leopard”. by Dr. Robert O. Stephens as told to Henry Regehr

Doctor Bob’s first patients that morning at the Nyankunde hospital was a family of four, all of whom had serious wounds from a leopard attack. 

The family, father, mother, a boy of eight years and a girl of ten, lived in a traditional grass-covered mud hut near the hospital. While the nurses and Doctor Bob were looking after the injuries, the family were able to tell their story. 

The typical hut was about four meters by four meters with one door and two windows that could be shuttered. The previous night had been exceptionally hot. As a result, they had left the windows open to allow air to circulate and provide some cooling. Their animals were, as usual, taken inside for night since wild animals were always on the prowl looking for food. In the crowded hut, then, were the four members of the family, a dog, and two goats. 

While all were asleep, a leopard sniffed around the dwelling and became aware of the animal smell. It checked out a window, found that it was large enough to allow it to enter, and with stealth made its way in. Only when it attacked the goats did the dog and the family wake up. A noisy brawl began. The dog fought for its life and began a loud howling and yelping. The goats were scrambling about in the confined space, bleating madly. The riotous screaming and running about, the blood and the terror was enough to frighten the leopard which noisily escaped through the open window. By this time, every member of the family had suffered claw cuts and bites from the powerful jaws of the leopard. The dog and the goats were bitten and bleeding.  

The medical staff took the situation in hand, treated the open wounds of the four family members appropriately, and set follow-up procedures. 

All four made a full recovery but had scarring that would  reminded them of their epic struggle. 

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