People who have to spend a lot of time outdoors as part of their jobs know that one of the hazards of such a profession is the potential for dog bites. Most people who have delivered pizza, done landscaping work or been a letter carrier probably have a close call from an aggressive dog. However, an Escondido, California, letter carrier was not so fortunate earlier this month.
The 59-year-old woman was on her route as usual through the neighborhood, delivering the mail. She was bitten on the legs by a pit bull during the course of her route. While she was being examined by medical personnel, she began to experience slurred speech and ultimately became unresponsive.
It turned out the woman was having a stroke. She took a turn for the worse at the hospital and passed away on March 4, three days after the dog attack. The pit bull was euthanized with the permission of its owner.
While the primary cause of the woman's death was a stroke brought on by hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the canine bites were listed as a contributing condition to her illness, and likely caused a lot of stress in what turned out to be her last days.
Whether due to the year-round good weather or some other factor, it was not an isolated incident for the area. Greater San Diego has a very high rate of dog bite instances among letter carriers: there were 45 reported instances in 2010, which tied for second among all American metropolitan areas.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Letter carrier dies of stroke after being attacked by dog," Tony Perry, March 8, 2012