Man Says Spider Bite Helped Him Walk

By | March 14, 2009

Mike Dello with CBS13 in Sacramento tells the story of how a spider bite helped a man walk again after 20 years in a wheelchair. David Blancarte, of Manteca, has been in a wheelchair since a motorcycle accident at age 21. Eight months ago he was bitten by a deadly Brown Recluse spider, which put him in the hospital for eight months. A nurse noticed David’s leg spasm and ran a test on him. “When they zapped my legs, I felt the current, I was like whoa and I yelled,” he says. He felt the current and the rush of a renewed sense of hope. “She says,’your nerves are alive. They’re just asleep,” explained David. Five days later David was walking.

via Man Says Spider Bite Helped Him Walk – CBS News.

He has been confined to a wheelchair for 20 years. Now a paraplegic man is walking again, and his doctors call it a miracle. CBS13 went to Manteca to find out how a spider bite helped get him back on his feet.

“I closed my eyes and then I was spinning like a flying saucer,” explains David Blancarte.

A motorcycle accident almost killed David 21 years ago. At the time he might have wished he was dead. “I asked my doctor, ‘Sir what happened? I can’t feel my legs’,” said David. Ever since, David’s been relying on his wheelchair to get around. Then the spider bite. A Brown Recluse sent him to the hospital, then to rehab for eight months. “I’m here for a spider bite. I didn’t know I would end up walking,” says David. A nurse noticed David’s leg spasm and ran a test on him. “When they zapped my legs, I felt the current, I was like ‘whoa’ and I yelled,” he says. He felt the current and the rush of a renewed sense of hope. “She says,’your nerves are alive. They’re just asleep’,” explained David. Five days later David was walking. “I was walking on the bar back and forth,” he said. Now David is out of the hospital and on his feet and walking. David basks in his glory and gives a ray of hope to other hoping to walk again. The 48-year-old former boxer and dancer is taking it in stride, knowing his best days are still ahead. … – cbs

Cruel joke to get people in wheel chairs to get bitten by deadly spiders?

Thanks to J-dub for the link to the comment by  Steven Novella:

… First, it is not plausible that the spider bite itself did anything to regenerate nerves or muscles or improve David Blancarte’s neurological function. So what did happen. The story reports:

Ever since, David’s been relying on his wheelchair to get around. Then the spider bite. A Brown Recluse sent him to the hospital, then to rehab for eight months.

It is always important to seperate out variables when considering cause and effect. There are at least three variables we are being presented – Blancarte was biten by a brown recluse (which is poisonous), then he was treated for his bite in the hospital, and then he spent eight months in rehab. Of those three variables, which one is most likely to have resulted in his ability to walk? My bet is on the eight months of rehab.

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