Important Spider Bite Warning
Keith Pierce of Montana had just celebrated his tenth birthday. But just one month later, his parents were saying a final farewell to their son. Sadly, doctors didn’t recognize the dark mark on Keith’s leg as a spider bite until it was too late. And his heartbreaking story is important for everyone to hear, so others can be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of a dangerous spider bite.
A Happy Kid
Keith was a happy, active 10-year-old boy. He loved playing with his brothers, and was already showing promising talent on the football field. In a post on the memorial Facebook page honoring Keith’s life, his mom, Mandy, says:
“I was blessed when he entered my life. He was a beautiful bouncing baby boy. He was an angel, a bit naughty and very loving. I was so lucky to be his mommy and have him in my life the short time that he was here.”
Swelling And A Strange Mark
But just a few weeks after celebrating his tenth birthday, Keith’s leg started swelling up. His parents took him straight to the doctor.
Despite her insistence that there was another cause behind the mark and swelling on Keith’s leg, Mandy says the doctors were convinced cancer was to blame.
"I saw what appeared to be a set of fang marks," Mandy said. "I tried to tell them that it was a spider bite."
For the next week, the doctors tested for and finally ruled out cancer.
From Bad To Worse
Meanwhile, Keith’s pain and symptoms only worsened. So, his parents rushed him to the hospital. They treated the poor boy with IV drip antibiotics, but severe infection had already set in.
Two days later, doctors rushed Keith into emergency surgery for sepsis — a type of blood poisoning — but it was too late. Tragically, Keith passed away just one month and four days after his birthday.
The Cause Confirmed
According to the coroner’s report, the sepsis resulted from a spider bite — reportedly a brown recluse. The brown recluse and black widow are the only two spiders in North America with medically significant venom.
Shortly after Keith’s death, NBC Montana had some suggestions regarding spider bites:
- To avoid a possible spider bite, try wearing long sleeves, pants and long socks, especially if working outside or in an environment where spiders are more likely to live.
- Look for signs that you may have been bitten, such as sharp pain or reddish-purple areas of swelling and irritation around the bite area.
- If you think a spider has bitten you, wash the wound with hot, soapy water and then put a cold and damp compress on it for a period of time. If the bite becomes painful or you begin to experience sickness, contact your health care provider immediately.
Prayers For The Family
The Three Fork area where the Pierce family lives was devastated to hear of Keith’s tragic passing. The community rallied around the grieving family, and even raised $10,000 through a fundraiser.
It’s been more than a year since Keith’s passing, and we continue to lift this family up in prayer. Support and love has poured in through fundraising efforts and Keith’s memorial Facebook page, which has been overwhelmingly appreciated by the family. We pray God will bring them a peace and comfort that can only come from Him.
Stories like Keith’s are always heartbreaking because you can’t help but think of the “what ifs” that could have changed the outcome drastically. Our hope is that from such a tragic story, other lives will be saved through awareness of the dangers and symptoms of spider bites.
“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3
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h/t: Little Things