JOHOR BARU - The next two years will be vital for the scar recovery of eight-month-old Nur Hidayah Abdul Rahman, who survived a brutal monitor lizard attack at her home in Pulau Tioman on Monday.
She is now at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital here, where she is expected to be warded for a week.
Reconstructive and plastic surgery medical officer Dr Low Tzuemn Ling said the baby's injuries did not show signs of infection but they might take longer to heal because one of the scratches was deep and about 8cm long.
"The baby received at least 150 stitches. While the stitches will come off in a week's time, we still have to provide follow-up treatment to ensure that the scars are minimal," she said yesterday.
It was reported that the lizard crept into the staff quarters of a holiday resort at Kampung Tekek on the island where the baby's family stayed and sunk its teeth into the little girl's head.
The reptile tried to drag the baby into nearby bushes but the baby's mother, Nor Raudah Abdullah, 38, heard the child's cries and came to her rescue.
The mother had only turned away to take some porridge for the baby when the attack occurred.
Dr Low said a lot of care needed to be given to the child in terms of diet and sun exposure as these factors would determine the healing of the scars.
"They will be unavoidable but after her wounds recover, we will do follow-up reconstructive surgery to minimise the scars," she added.
The baby's father, Abdul Rahman Ismail, 38, said he was thankful to God that his only child survived the attack.
"Monitor lizards are a daily sight near our house but I did not expect the creature to get past the quarters gates and into my house," said the resort maintenance worker, who was at work when his superior informed him about the incident.
Johor Women and Family Committee chairman Asiah Ariff, who visited the baby at the hospital, said the state Welfare Department would provide counselling for the mother.