Ten-year-old boy bitten by a funnel-web spider required 12 vials of antivenom in order to survive.
Matthew Mitchell, from New South Wales Central Coast, was bitten on his finger by a spider hidden in a shoe while helping his dad in a shed at their home in Berkeley Vale on Monday night.
Matthew said he struggled to get the spider off as it bit down on his finger.
“It sort of clawed onto me and all the legs and everything crawled around my finger and I couldn’t get it off,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Using a t-shirt to compress the bite, Mr Mitchell quickly rounded up his wife and Matthew’s 17-year-old sister, Natasha, into a car, and rushed him to Gosford Hospital.
Matthew’s symptoms intensified and he started sweating and frothing at the mouth as his eyes dilated. He then started having seizures.
Doctors gave him 12 vials of anti-venom before he stabilised.
Mr Mitchell had also collected the spider that bit Matthew, and it was taken to the Australian Reptile Park.
Park general manager Tim Faulkner said Matthew was lucky to be alive.
He told the newspaper that the boy would be awarded a “Spiderman Bravery Award” at the park once he is well enough to visit.
Mr Faulkner said male funnel-webs – which are five times more venomous than their female counterparts – are out in full force in February and March as it is the species’ breeding season.
Mr Mitchell said the family agreed to share Matthew’s remarkable near-death experience in an effort “to spread the message” about always checking shoes, gardening gloves and washing left out overnight for spiders before putting them on.
We wish Matthew a speedy recovery.
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