Islington spider bite victim loses seven toes because of venom

A disabled man who lost seven toes after being bitten by a killer spider became the second resident this week to be found a mobility scooter thanks to Gazette readers.

Peter Harvey, 66, was bitten by a Brown Recluse on a beach in Orlando in 2006 and has suffered major health problems ever since.

Surgeons even had to take out half of his stomach in an effort to remove all trace of the deadly poison from his body, while his kidneys no longer work without dialysis.

All his health issues have been linked to the spider’s venom – yet Mr Harvey, of Wynford Road, Islington, was only in the United States that day because a hurricane had grounded his flight home.

He said: “It bit me between the legs while I was sunbathing. I didn’t feel it at all and only realised in the evening when my abdomen came up like a balloon.

“I was rushed to hospital and went straight into theatre. I was there for four weeks in the US and then spent a year in the Royal Free. They had to remove half my stomach to get the poison out.

“The venom can infect other parts of the body and can come back. In 2007, all the toes on my right foot were removed. They had gone black after the poison got to them. Another two wee removed from my left foot just before Christmas last year. It all seems to be gone now, touch wood.”

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Mr Harvey was forced to retire when after he got out of the Royal Free. He now barely leaves his house – except to be taken to hospital by ambulance, making three trips a week to the St Pancras Hospital for dialysis.

He added: “Everything came after the bite. I never had a day off work before it. The thing that frustrates me is I can’t get out like I used to.

“And I would have been home and dry if it wasn’t for the hurricane. But you can’t win everything can you?”

The Gazette discovered he was in need of a scooter when picking up Ray Gray’s new wheels from Mr Harvey’s next-door neighbour Pat Leverton.

Another of the three readers who contacted the Gazette after hearing about Mr Gray, Peter Lingfield, 76, was happy to give his late wife’s scooter to another needy resident instead.

Mr Lingfield, of Offord Road, Islington, said: “It has done a few miles, but it’s not been used lately. I’m pleased to see it go to someone it can help.”

Mr Harvey said: “I’m very pleased and I want to thank him. I have wanted to get one for a while, but they can be so expensive. It’s brilliant.”

The third scooter offered needs some work to get it up and running.