Woman hospitalized after 15 spider bites, infected with flesh-eating bacteria

Susie Filch Malohevo (From: Adrian Swensen)

A woman is fighting for her life after family members say she was bitten several times by a spider and later infected with flesh-eating bacteria.

Susie Felch Maluhivu of Utah recently went on a fishing trip to Mirror Lake in the Uinta Mountains with family and friends.

“When I woke up Sunday morning she had a headache and a fever and was in some pain,” her son, Adrian Swensen, told Fox TV stations. “These symptoms were so advanced that we decided she needed to see her doctor.”

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Swensen said his mother tested negative for COVID-19 and the flu. She was given two shots and prescribed medication to take at home.

But Feltch-Malohifo worsened and she returned to the emergency room after the pain became unbearable.

Swensen said doctors examined her and determined that she had 15 spider bites, and seven of them were badly injured. Swensen believes his mother was bitten by a spider during a hunting trip while she was sleeping.

Swenson said doctors told him his mother had been infected with a carnivorous bacteria that was wreaking havoc on her body. Doctors removed more than 10 pounds of affected tissue.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou remains in hospital as doctors continue to treat the infection and remove the remaining dead tissue. Doctors told the family that she had suffered damage to her stomach and colon.

β€œShe is very ill,” Swensen said, adding that his mother has already had several surgeries and medication.

“We were told that if they could get her back to stable condition and through all of the removals and cleanings, she would have a very long way to go to recovery,” he continued. “We are people of faith and we pray constantly for her recovery and in time.”

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The family created a GoFundMe page to help with expenses. Felch-Malohifo’ou also shared her journey on her Facebook page.

Swensen said his mother is the founder and CEO of Pacific Island Knowledge 2Action Resources (PIK2AR). The nonprofit works with Pacific Islanders and other minorities with a focus on sexual assault victims, domestic violence victims, people returning from prison, parole, treatment facilities, and homelessness.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou has received numerous accolades including being named “Non-Profit Leader of the Year” by the FBI and Forbes magazine’s “50 Most Influential Women in the Country Over the Age of 50”, according to Swensen.

“What Susie needs most right now is your prayers and best wishes,” said Swensen.

According to the National Institutes of Health, necrotizing fasciitis β€” a disease caused by flesh-eating bacteria β€” can develop after the bite of an infected spider, particularly of a brown recluse.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.

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