Texas woman nearly loses leg after brown recluse bite

June 30, 2014

by Drew Karedes / KHOU.com
Posted on June 26, 2014 at 6:49 AM

 ROSENBERG, Texas – A Fort Bend County woman believes she cheated death after a spider bit her in bed.

Debbie Leclaire said she didn’t even feel the bite from the venomous brown recluse.

However, just three days after the bite, she says the pain was crippling, and the wound on her shin had grown exponentially.

Leclaire claims doctors she first saw misdiagnosed the complications from the spider bite.

“You get sick like that and you go and they don’t recognize what’s going on,” said Debbie Leclaire. “It was awful.”

She went for a second opinion at a different hospital nearly two weeks after the bite.

Doctors at Oak Bend Medical Center in Richmond recognized that Leclaire needed immediate attention.

“For her, the infection had gone down to the muscle. Once it goes into the muscle, it can spread into the body,” explained Dr. Azul Jaffer. “When I met her, in a matter of five minutes, I had her sign a piece of paper that we were rushing her to the operating room.”

Jaffer believes that Leclaire was less than 24 hours away from losing her leg and potentially her life.

“She’s a very lucky woman. Not only have we saved her leg, but she’s alive,” said Jaffer.

Leclaire wants everyone to know how dangerous the brown recluse spider can be.

Experts say a bite from a brown recluse spider starts with two small puncture wounds and turns into a blister.

The venom is capable of causing a lesion by destroying skin tissue, which requires medical attention.

“There’s no pain in the world that can describe. It’s like someone sticking a knife in there and carving your leg out,” explained Leclaire from her hospital bed. “I’d rather be bitten by a snake.”

According to experts, spiders typically avoid humans.

The brown recluse is known to build its web in closets, sheds, cellars and garages. Experts also say that the arachnids can hide in bed sheets and shoes.

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