Spider bite led to leg being amputated, woman says

A mother of three in West Memphis, Arkansas, says a spider bite ended up costing her a leg."I was seeing my li...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 7:08 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 7:08 AM

A mother of three in West Memphis, Arkansas, says a spider bite ended up costing her a leg.

"I was seeing my little cousins off to prom and their dad was like, 'Why are you limping? What's going on?' " Kiara Boulton told CNN affiliate WREG. "So I showed him my foot and said 'I think I got bit by a spider.' And he's like, 'Well what kind do you think it is?' And I said, 'a brown recluse.' "

Brown recluse spiders are common throughout the central and Midwestern United States

Experts say the bites typically heal after being cleaned and monitored by a doctor

A diabetic since she was 10 years old, Boulton went to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was instructed to visit her primary care physician who prescribed her medication for the bite, she told WREG.

Boulton told WREG that her toe became black three days after the bite. She returned to the hospital and was told it had to be amputated, one of seven surgeries Boulton said are a result of the spider bite.

The hospital was unable to speak directly about Boulton's case.

"Saint Francis-Memphis is committed to the health and well-being of our community," the hospital said in a statement. "While we are unable to comment on a particular patient's case due to privacy laws, after a hospitalization or emergency room visit, it is vitally important for patients to follow their discharge instructions, take prescribed medications and attend all follow-up care appointments as part of their journey to recovery."

To help her get through the ordeal, Boulton told WREG, she said to herself "three kids, Kiara. Three.

"God wouldn't have let you have them if you weren't supposed to be here for them. Fight through this. Fight through the pain."

Treating and preventing spider bites

Brown recluse spiders are commonly found throughout the central and midwestern United States, said Neelendra Joshi, an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology.

A bite from a brown recluse spider can be fatal in rare instances, but the spiders are typically not as aggressive as other species, Joshi said. But they will bite when they're trapped against our skin, he said.

"They have necrotic venom and as you see that's pretty poisonous and that can result in the premature death of blood cells," Joshi said. "It's considered one of the most poisonous house spiders in the United States."

After a spider bite occurs, the victim might or might not feel pain within a few minutes or hours. A rash can surround the bite and potentially spread to the rest of the body. The central dark area of the rash is what causes the tissue to die.

Treatment for brown recluse spider bites will be targeted for specific symptoms, such as antibiotics to treat infection or antihistamines to treat itching.

Dr. Donna Seger, Tennessee Poison Center medical director and professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said bites should be washed and allowed to air dry.

"There are a lot of urban legends about spider bites," Seger said, adding that she has seen patients slather on tobacco, coffee grounds and horse salve in her 30 years of treating spider bites.

After a bite, a small number of people will have a systemic reaction that will cause a fever, rash and the breakdown of red blood cells, Seger said. That can require a blood transfusion.

She recommends checking in with a doctor to confirm the type of bite and make sure it's healing properly.

However, people with diabetes have an entirely different immune system in healing, Seger cautioned.

"If you're talking about any kind of lesion or any type of skin disruption in a diabetic, they have a much higher chance of amputations," said Seger, who was not involved in Boulton's treatment. "Amputations themselves happen in diabetics without any type of cut or lesion."

To prevent spider bites, Joshi recommends removing spider webs and clutter, controlling various household insects and sealing crevices and openings between walls and corners to control spider populations. As additional protection, people can use sticky traps, chemical spray or dust insecticides that continue to work for extended amounts of time.

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Rensselaer
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Fowler
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 69°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Active Pattern Ahead
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 73287

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15701725
Lake7496275
Elkhart480184
Allen3835163
St. Joseph342381
Hamilton2723104
Vanderburgh192213
Hendricks1871108
Cass17869
Johnson1741118
Porter129439
Clark120247
Tippecanoe118911
Madison94365
LaPorte89430
Howard88465
Kosciusko84712
Bartholomew78047
Marshall77422
Floyd77246
Monroe74630
Delaware71452
Dubois68712
Boone67246
Noble66329
Hancock64738
Vigo61910
Jackson5855
Warrick57930
LaGrange55710
Shelby54627
Grant52630
Dearborn49628
Morgan46734
Clinton4303
Henry37620
Wayne36810
White36110
Montgomery35221
Lawrence34227
Decatur33532
Harrison32723
Putnam2868
Miami2692
Scott26610
Daviess26420
Greene24634
Franklin24114
Jasper2342
DeKalb2304
Jennings22412
Gibson2214
Steuben2073
Ripley1997
Fayette1867
Carroll1852
Perry18412
Starke1777
Posey1700
Orange16924
Wabash1653
Fulton1642
Wells1622
Jefferson1602
Knox1510
Whitley1516
Washington1391
Tipton1379
Spencer1313
Huntington1223
Newton11810
Randolph1184
Clay1165
Sullivan1131
Adams962
Jay910
Owen871
Pulaski791
Rush764
Brown731
Fountain732
Blackford632
Ohio635
Benton610
Pike530
Parke511
Vermillion490
Switzerland460
Crawford440
Martin430
Union390
Warren221
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events