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October 29, 2010

An elderly man suffered hundreds of ant stings while in the Intensive Care Unit of a Florida hospital, reports WINK News.

The incident occurred as Cornelius Lewis, 76, laid in serious condition in the ICU of Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, FL. The victim’s son told the TV news station that his father suffered hundreds of bites all over his lower body.

According to an ABC News report, Lewis had undergone pacemaker surgery at the hospital. The next day he complained of being itchy and a burning sensation in his groin, but the surgery incapacitated one arm and he suffers injury to the other so he could not care for himself. He could not see the ants because blankets covered his body.

The hospital said their professional pest control service identified the type of ants that attacked Lewis as the Pavement Ant. However, Lewis’ daughter said the bites were red with pustules, typical of fire ant stings. Both, she and entomologists ABC News consulted with believe the culprits are Fire Ants.

Fire ants are venomous and some people with allergies to this venom can go into life threatening anaphylactic shock.

The hospital says they moved all patients from the affected ICU and pest control treatment has begun at Gulf Coast Medical Center and all hospitals within the Lee Memorial Health System.

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