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Dad, 52, dies just days after spider bite: 'Internal bleeding'

A dad whose hand turned black and started to rot after he was bitten by a deadly spider died of massive organ failure four days later after being shunted between five hospitals in a bid to get proper treatment.

The 52-year-old father and husband named Gustavo Occelli was bitten by a highly venomous Chilean recluse spider (Loxosceles laeta) before he started to feel nauseous and weak in the city of Benavidez, Argentina, on September 6.

He was then taken to the Benavidez Immediate Diagnostic Hospital (HDI) by his family where he was told that the “necrotic lesion on his right hand”, as described by his daughter, Melina, was an insect bite. He was then prescribed painkillers along with an antibiotic.

Gustavo Occelli and his infected spider bite.
Gustavo Occelli died after being bitten by a highly venomous Chilean recluse spider. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Gustavo, who already had a fever and began to feel worse, decided to visit the Pacheco General Hospital where he was told that he would have to wait five days for the antibiotic to take effect, according to his daughter.

“My mother told me what happened with the window staff, who refused to provide care, excusing themselves because my father already had an indicated treatment,” she added.

He was then attended to by medical officials at the hospital at his family’s insistence before he was given ibuprofen and a penicillin intramuscular injection so that he could return home.

Despite this, Gustavo’s condition began to worsen and he began to vomit blood, according to local media reports.

Illustrative image of Chilean recluse spider, commonly referred to as the corner spider. Source: Newsflash/Australscope
The Chilean recluse spider is commonly referred to as the corner spider. Source: Newsflash/Australscope (Newsflash)

Tired of the poor health care Gustavo allegedly received at previous medical centres, his family decided to take the spider bite victim to the Santa Catalina de Benavidez clinic, where he reportedly fainted.

Gustavo was then urgently referred to the Garin General Hospital in Buenos Aires.

“He was treated quickly (there), since he could not even walk and was very weak,” Melina said.

“They did tests that indicated that he had internal bleeding which (the doctors) believed came from the stomach and that his lungs were compromised by pneumonia.”

Dad dies from cardiac arrest after spider bite

Gustavo was finally transferred to his fifth medical centre — the Escobar Hospital — where he reportedly died due to a cardiac arrest on September 9.

His family went on to publicly condemn both the HDI and the Pacheco General Hospital’s alleged “misconduct and negligence” after stating that the 52-year-old man had no previous health conditions, according to reports.

They then claimed that the medical officials did not request any sort of test to be carried out so that the deadly spider bite could be detected early.

“When we went to the hospital, the doctor who was on duty told us that his death was due to a poisonous spider bite that had caused necrosis in his hand and a subsequent multi-organ failure that led to his death,” Melina said.

The Chilean recluse spider is a highly venomous arachnid that is native to South America and can be found in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Peru.

Despite the fact that antidote results for Chilean recluse spider bites are reportedly bleak, the administration of an antibiotic known as dapsone has been supported by a number of limited studies, while clinical trials on its potential effectiveness as an antidote have not been carried out as of yet, according to reports.


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