Mum’s bite horror as spider in her supermarket veg leaves hideous seeping wound

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A mum is facing losing her entire arm after a 'spider bite' from shop-bought fruit left her with a giant gaping wound that keeps bursting open.

In 2016 Sharon Brown, 43 was bitten while making fruit kebabs in her garden and says she became unwell within minutes as a small hole appeared on her right hand.

Fearing an allergic reaction, she visited her GP and was prescribed antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids and had the area dressed.

But at a check-up a few days later she was horrified to discover the sore had grown rather than improved.

Tragically the 'pinhead'-sized bite grew into a gaping wound covering her entire forearm, eating away at her flesh and revealing her deep tissues and tendons.

The former garage worker has now been unable to work for the past six years as the open wound will not heal as doctors have been unable to diagnose or effectively treat the mystery condition.

Sharon, from Stowmarket, Suffolk, said: "I was in the back garden and I felt myself get bitten.

"I'd bought fruit from different supermarkets so I can't say for certain which punnet it came out of.

"Even doctors think it was something that came out of the fruit packets because of the severity of the reaction and how quick it happened.

"They think it might have been a spider bite – it could have been an exotic spider because a lot of fruit is shipped in from abroad.

"It just felt like a gnat bite There was just this tiny hole, the size of a drawing pin head.

"You could just progressively see the hole getting bigger and in time it ate away the whole back of my hand – at the moment it's right up to my elbow.

"I still haven't got a proper diagnosis. It will be six years this July since the insect bite happened.

"To this day I'm left with a huge open wound the length of my right [fore]arm that just won't heal."

Since 2016, Sharon has undergone a raft of treatments – all of which have been unsuccessful.

These have included blood transfusions, intravenous antibiotics, three debridement surgeries, to remove dead and infected tissue, as well as numerous skin grafts.

Doctors still remain at a loss as to what is preventing the wound from healing but some have suggested that it may be caused by the condition pyoderma gangrenosum.

This rare condition causes painful ulcers, spreads quickly and can be triggered by insect bites.

Sharon said: "That's how the vicious cycle started – I go into hospital for IV antibiotics and the wound settles down a bit but as soon as I come home and go onto oral antibiotics it flares up again.

"My wound heals to a point and then it breaks down – I almost fully healed in 2017 but then I broke down more and more and more.

"I had a major transplant in 2018 because by then the whole back of my hand had been lost – there was no skin and you could see my tendons and everything.

"The doctors at the hospital said they just don't know what else to do, they're at a loss.

"They think it might be pyoderma gangrenosum because I fit a lot of the criteria of that condition but it doesn't scream that condition.

"All this time I've never really been given any definitive answers because no one has seen anything like this before. It's the most frustrating thing to live with.

"I've been told a few times that I might lose my arm if the infection goes to the bone because it's very hard to come back from that."

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Sharon frequently suffers serious bleeds due to the exposed tissue on her arm, which has to be bandaged at all times.

This combined with the fact that the grisly wound will not heal has meant that Sharon has faced doctors wrongly speculating that she was self-harming and inflicting the injury herself and even underwent a psychological evaluation last year.

Since that confirmed Sharon was not causing the wound herself, doctors remain at a loss about what condition is behind the ongoing issue.

Sharon said: "It bleeds out a lot and I lose a lot of blood so I have to have frequent blood transfusions.

"I had a bleed once that reached the ceiling – sometimes if I get a pocket of infection it will find the weakest place and push through.

"I was getting my dressing changed one day and that happened and the blood flew so high it hit the ceiling in my dining room.

"I collapsed on the floor and my daughter had to call the ambulance and I had to go in for a blood transfusion.

"For a long time I've battled with the hospitals accusing me of self-harming – I've had psych evaluations and they've cleared me so many times and said 'this isn't her picking at it."

After losing the function in the fingers on her dominant, right hand as a result of the wound and the damage done to her tissues and tendons, Sharon has been left unable to do many everyday tasks.

Not only is she unable to work or drive but she is forced to have a carer to help her shower.

Sharon said: "I'm absolutely sick of being like this, I can't do anything for myself. It affects your mental health hugely.

"It's gone on for too long and taken up too much of my life. I can't move forward with anything until this wound heals and it's been six years now.

"All I want is to heal, get better and go back to work but nobody has any answers or knows what to do."

  • Spiders

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