Jackson Landers was bitten by a black widow spider that had taken up residence in his shoe. Not knowing how bad the bite was, he waited hours before going to the hospital. Even then, he knew that he might not get the classic antivenin used to treat spider bites.
While the antivenin has saved many lives, it carries dangers of its own. Some patients turn out to have a life-threatening allergy to horse proteins. So the medicine is given only if the victim seems to be at death’s door; most patients are expected to tough it out, an ordeal that can take days.
That night, I was the hospital’s closest thing to a rock star. A parade of residents and medical students stopped in my room to gawk at me; few had ever seen a black widow patient. By now, the pain had crept into my lower chest, sending out waves of muscle spasms.
The reason Jackson was not given painkillers was that he was a candidate to test out a new black widow bite antivenin called Analatro. Read about his experience, and learn more about black widow spiders, at the New York Times. Link -via Digg
(Image credit: Jackson Landers)