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Florida boy airlifted to hospital after being stabbed in the chest by catfish barb on fishing trip

Florida child is airlifted to hospital after being impaled in chest by catfish barb while family fishing trip

  • A child, under the age of 10, was stung by a catfish stinger, which broke off and slid an inch or a half into the child’s chest
  • The child’s mother rushed to hospital when the youngster complained of shortness of breath
  • The quick-thinking mother called 911 and rescuers in Pasco County, Florida decided to fly the child to a hospital in Tampa
  • More than 1,200 species of catfish are poisonous and a puncture wound can be infected with bacteria and fungi
  • The child is currently in stable condition at St. John’s Hospital in Tampa

A Florida child was taken to a hospital in Tampa on Sunday after being impaled in the chest by a catfish barb during a family fishing trip on Sunday, authorities said.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the unknown youngest, whose age and gender have not been released, was fishing in New Port Richey, on the Gulf Coast north of Tampa.

The child was stung by the sting of the fish, according to Corey Dierdorff, spokesman for Pasco County Fire Rescue.

The child’s mother got the child in the family car and rushed US 19 highway to the hospital, but on the way the child complained of shortness of breath.

The concerned mother stopped and called 911.

Pasco County first responders arrived, evaluated the boy and determined that the risk was serious enough that they would fly the child to St. John’s Hospital in Tampa.

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A child under 10 was flown to a trauma center in Tampa after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish

A child under 10 was flown to a trauma center in Tampa after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish

The child is currently in stable condition.

‘I have worked for the emergency services for twenty years and have never heard of such a report,’ says Dierdorff.

He said the helicopter was called in because of the unique circumstances and unknown factors in the emergency.

The mother and child were fishing in New Port Richey when the child was impaled by a potentially deadly catfish barb

The mother and child were fishing in New Port Richey when the child was impaled by a potentially deadly catfish barb

“Because of the child’s age, we didn’t know if it was a poisonous catfish, the child was short of breath, they didn’t know. [initially] knows how deep the stab wound was,” Dierdorff said.

“As a precaution, they ordered a trauma alarm so doctors were prepared when the child got there.”

Although rarely fatal, catfish barb injuries are well known to anglers.

FILE PHOTO: Catfish pectoral barb can be seen, hear piercing a person's flesh

FILE PHOTO: Catfish pectoral barb can be seen, hear piercing a person’s flesh

FILE PHOTO: Anglers recommend holding the catfish under the pectoral fins to avoid getting caught by the fish's barbs

FILE PHOTO: Anglers recommend holding the catfish under the pectoral fins to avoid getting caught by the fish’s barbs

Of the 1,600 species of catfish in the world, more than 1,200 are venomous and their venom can be extremely poisonous, according to research from the University of Michigan

Of the 1,600 species of catfish in the world, more than 1,200 are venomous and their venom can be extremely poisonous, according to research from the University of Michigan

Of the 1,600 species of catfish in the world, more than 1,200 are venomous, and their venom can be extremely poisonous, according to research from the University of Michigan.

Poison glands are located near the bony, serrated barbs on the pectoral and dorsal fins that, the report says, will lock in place when the fish feels threatened.

“Catfish venom poisons nerves and breaks down red blood cells, causing severe pain, decreased blood flow, muscle spasms and respiratory distress,” study researcher Jeremy Wright wrote in his paper.

He warns in his paper that those stung by the fish can suffer for months from bacterial and fungal infections carried by the barb into the bloodstream.

“In such cases, complications associated with these infections and foreign bodies can persist for several months,” Wright noted.

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