Brown Recluse Spider Bite Victim Endures 20 Surgeries During Her Fight For Survival

A Michigan woman spent the past four years undergoing 20 surgeries to treat a spider bite which was so small, she barely noticed it. Jane Hefferan had just graduated from Vanderbilt Law School when she first noticed some redness and pain in her knee. She was willing to simply brush off the minor irritation, but a physical therapist pushed her to take the pain seriously. Hefferan was forced eventually to endure multiple skin grafts and blood transfusions to treat the poisonous bite from the brown recluse spider.

What the recent law school graduate thought was nothing more than an ordinary ailment wound up being deadly serious. Doctors believe the brown recluse spider bit the woman while she was sleeping, according to the New York Daily News.

Jane Hefferan had this to say about her initial visit to the emergency and the start of her four year nightmare:

“It looked just like a bruise at first. My knee was really swollen too. It kind of had a burning feeling. I had no idea that a spider bite could do something like that. The initial surgery was just to cut out all of the necrotic or dead tissue that the sprider had destroyed. They cut down to the lining of the bone. It was eating up so much of my leg, and so much of my tissue was gone. At that point there was like nothing left of my leg. It was just basically bone.”

Fortunately Hefferan was able to keep both of her legs, but she spent weeks in the hospital for surgeries and treatment. She estimates that she spent approximately $1 million for her life-saving treatment. Family and friends hosted fundraisers and blood drives to help the aspiring attorney during the recovery process. Despite her health issues, she did manage to pass the bar exam, but the brown recluse spider prompted Jane to shift her career focus; she is planning on enrolling in a nursing program next fall, Click On Detroit notes.