ROSENBERG, Tex. (CBS Houston) – Debbie Leclaire almost lost her leg after doctors misdiagnosed a bite she received from a venomous brown recluse spider.

She said she felt crippling pain three days after she was bitten.

“You get sick like that and you go and they don’t recognize what’s going on,” Leclaire told KHOU. “It was awful.”

She finally went for a second opinion almost two weeks after the bite. Doctors at Oak Bend Medical Center said she needed immediate attention.

“For her, the infection had gone down to the muscle,” Dr. Azul Jaffer explained. “Once it goes into the muscle, it can spread into the body. When I met her, in a matter of five minutes, I had her sign a piece of paper that we were rushing her to the operating room.”

Jaffer belives that Leclair was less than a day away from losing her leg or quite possibly her life.

“She’s a very lucky woman,” Jaffer said. “Not only have we saved her leg, but she’s alive.”

Leclaire wants everyone to know that the brown recluse spider is extremely dangerous.

A bite from a brown recluse spider starts with two small puncture wounds and turns into a blister, according to experts. Their venom is capable of causing a lesion by destroying skin tissue and requires immediate medical attention.

“There’s no pain in the world that can describe,” Leclair said. “It’s like someone sticking a knife in there and carving your leg out. I’d rather be bitten by a snake.”

Experts say spiders typically avoid humans, but they tend to build their webs in closets, sheds, cellars, and garages.


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