An unidentified 13 year old Venezuelan girl faces the grim prospect of having her left leg amputated after an unintended recent spider bite led to cells in the girl’s leg atrophying and dying in a condition known as necrosis.
According to a report via the UK’s dailymail the snake’s venom caused severe necrosis, the premature death of cells which in turn led to the tissue in the leg dying, wilt and rot, rendering it useless.
At first, the girl was treated by remedies from the indigenous culture she was from, according to a photograph posted on Instagram by the username ‘juventudmedica’.
A month later she was eventually brought to Carcaras, Venezuela, for medical treatment.
A doctor, who has seen the photograph, has since told the girl will need her leg amputated but is still likely to die from the snake venom.
‘But the picture shows clearly severe tissue necrosis that will need amputation, though she still may die from this due to the nature of the poison.
‘The whole lower leg is black, it’s spreading up. Looking at the rest of her body she’s showing signs of muscle wastage from the poison. Her other leg is thin. It’s likely she will still die.’
He added that the necrosis has led to a condition called rhabdomyolysis, in which muscle tissue will begin to die throughout the body.
Rhabdomyolysis can result in damage to the kidneys, which coupled with low blood pressure, can lead to kidney failure and even death if left untreated.
The doctor would surmise being treated with local remedies probably meant the girl was given antibiotics, but not treatment to adequately control poisoning from the snake venom, which contains agents that paralyse the nerves and cause the blood to clot.
Reiterated Dr Ghosh: ‘This girl has had classic rural treatment which is often only able to treat local infection secondary to the bite (at best say equal to antibiotics).
‘But she is unlikely to have received anti-venom treatment (which entails giving treatment to stop blood clotting) to keep her blood flowing through her body.’
The photograph’s caption said the girl also suffered a broken elbow from the incident with the snake.
The bite caused a laceration to the artery in her leg and the resulting bleeding led to what’s known as ‘compartment syndrome’.
This is a serious condition when pressure within a compartment such as the leg causes a decrease in blood supply to the affected muscles.
At present it is not understood what the general well being of the girl in question is or if she is in fact still alive?