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HomeHealth & FitnessAtlanta musician nearly lost leg (and life) to brown recluse spider bite:...

Atlanta musician nearly lost leg (and life) to brown recluse spider bite: ‘I was really scared’

Atlanta musician nearly lost leg (and life) to brown recluse spider bite: ‘I was really scared’


An Atlanta musician was days away from losing his leg, and possibly even his life, after suffering a brown recluse spider bite last month.

Singer-songwriter Gabe Lustman told The Post on Thursday that he doesn’t know where or when exactly he was bitten by the venomous spider, which he initially thought was a “mosquito bite or something.”

“I start scratching it and scratching it and then it starts changing color,” the 30-year-old recalled in a phone interview. “I thought he hit my leg because it looked like a target, it looked like a bruise.”

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The R&B pop artist first noticed the bite around August 18 and felt progressively worse from there. He performed at a gala the next day, but felt so bad that he went straight from the concert to the hospital.

Medical staff quickly determined his leg was infected, but a clear diagnosis came the next day when an infectious disease specialist examined him, he said.

Gabe Lustman, 30, was in the hospital for five days for the rare sting.
FOX5 Atlanta

Lustman was in the hospital for five days, where he received multiple blood tests and was given large doses of antibiotics and other medications.

Before he was released, medical staff told him that if he sought help later, his leg could have been amputated or he could have died.

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“They said if it came a couple of days later, it would have spread even more,” he said. “I mean, I waited until I couldn’t walk anymore, I was limping. “I couldn’t put any pressure on my leg.”

He started scratching his leg constantly after the bite.
FOX5 Atlanta
Lustman is a pop R&B artist.
Gabe Lustman

“I was really scared,” Lustman added. “I feel very blessed and grateful to have been able to move forward with my leg.”

The brown recluse spider is most commonly found in the Midwest and South, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The venom of a brown recluse can cause serious injury by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis),” the CDC says. “This skin injury will require professional medical attention.”

A brown recluse spider bit Lustman.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lustman said he is still not completely back to normal and has yet to perform since his hospital stay. She still has dry, dead skin around her leg and a scar from the bite.

Gaylord Lopez, CEO of the Georgia Poison Center, told WSB-TV that his facility sees between 3 and 5 suspected cases of brown recluse bites each month.

“When these little creatures catch you, they can punch you when they bite you,” he said, adding. “You don’t even realize until a couple of hours after you’ve been bitten.”


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