A GRANDAD who thought he had athlete’s foot was hospitalised and left with a foot-long horrific infection and oozing blisters after being bitten by a ‘false widow’ spider.
Shawn Summerfield, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was put on oxygen when his breathing became laboured and was given doses of strong antibiotics during his week-long hospital stay in a bid to blast the infection.
Mercury Press Shawn Summerfield, above with son-in-law-Braedon, suffered a horrific infection and oozing blisters after a spider bite
The 55-year-old has been so traumatised by what he went through that he now undergoes daily 30-minute ‘anti-spider’ rituals to avoid getting bitten again.
He experienced itchiness on his toes after doing some work in his son’s garden at the end of March but thought nothing of it assuming he had contracted the common fungal infection.
Days later he went to A&E and was admitted for eight days where concerned docs monitored the infection and blisters which erupted over a 12 inch patch of his right leg.
Doctors believed it was caused by a spider bite and administered strong antibiotics to tackle the infection.
Mercury Press One of the blisters on Mr Summerfield’s leg
The granddad of 14 said he’d been in his son’s shed putting up a partition at the end of March when he got a stone in his shoe.
Shawn said: “My son Terry asked if I would go over to his house and put up a partition in his shed. I’ve seen a few false widows running around in the garden and give them a wide berth.
“While I was helping with the shed I felt something inside my boot so took my shoe off and put it back on two or three times – I think this is when the spider bit me on my lower leg.
“The next day I had a leg cramp all up my leg towards the top of my thigh. It wasn’t until the Sunday morning that I realised something was seriously wrong.”
Mercury Press The infection spread on his leg, causing discolouration
Mr Summerfield said he had “swelling and purple blobs” from his foot to his knee, so his son-in-law took him to Colchester General Hospital’s A&E department where he was admitted for eight days to a high observation ward.
He said: “I was lying in my hospital bed looking at it getting worse every day – you could see it spreading up my leg into my thigh.
“It was a constant stinging… It looked like a flesh-eating bug was just chomping away at my leg.
“I thought ‘this could be it’ I was ready to tell them to take it off,” he said. “I’ve had three heart surgeries and could have died three times, like those times I just thought I was in the hands of the gods.”
Mercury Press A close up of the infection caused by the ‘false widow bite’
“They initially thought I had deep sepsis and put me on drips and antibiotics to try and flush it out. My breathing was bad so they also placed an oxygen mask on me.”
Images found on the internet showed the wound resembled that of the false widow spider – whose bites produce necrosis of the flesh.
He added: “The doctors then tried me on a stronger antibiotic they nickname Domestos because it’s really, really strong. The nurses were calling me Spiderman after that.”
He said: “It took two weeks for me to be able to walk properly and four weeks for the burning and stinging to stop, but my ankle is still swollen three months on.”
Mercury Press He said it looked like a ‘flesh eating bug’
Mercury Press Three months on, he is now left with a ‘gravy stain’ on his leg