Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elderly woman suffers over a 1000 stings in Florida Yellow Jacket attack

Elderly woman in critical condition after suffering over 1000 Yellow Jacket wasp stings

LAKELAND - A Lakeland woman is in critical condition after surviving a horrific attack by hundreds of yellow jacket wasps.
Juanita Foshee, 81, wife was watering the lawn Saturday evening when she came across a yellow jacket nest in the ground, according to her husband Clyde Foshee.
Clyde said the attack started in their yard, but didn't stop until they got Juanita to the hospital.
"One of the nurses in the ER was stung by a yellow jacket that was in her hair," Foshee said.
Clyde said his wife's condition is guarded.
"Her condition is critical. The doctors have never seen anything like this before. They're amazed that she's still alive," Foshee said.
Clyde and Juanita Foshee have been married for 55 years. Imagine his shock when he got the call that she had been stung by more than 1,000 yellow jackets.
"Buddy, I couldn't believe my eyes," said Foshee. "There wasn't a place on her body that wasn't covered with yellow jackets."
Yellow jackets are known be aggressive, and will sting repeatedly if provoked. Experts say it would make sense that Juanita may have accidentally disturbed a nest in the ground.
"The yellow jackets actually prefer to be in the ground, they actually excavate the soil," said Jonathan Simkins of Insect IQ.
Juanita is at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
"I can't imagine what kind of pain she went through. The doctor said she had over a thousand bites," Foshee said.
In addition to her external injuries, Clyde says his wife is suffering kidney damage. Right now, they aren't sure if she's going to make it.
Experts say a yellow jacket nest can house up to 5,000 yellow jackets. To avoid them, watch out for the warning signs.
"The one thing you want to look for is a flight pattern. You're gonna see yellow jackets flying in and out of an area -- that's a problem," Simkins said.
The Foshee family is hoping this mother of three survives her bout with the pesky insects.
"She's 81 years old and she's tough. She's gotta be tough to even survive this," said Foshee.

Entomologist's comment:

Our very own entomologist, Jonathan Simkins is intereviewed, explaining the very dangerous nature of these defensive insects. This year alone, dozens of Florida residents have suffered severe injury or death from stinging insect stings.