donate icon DONATE

Shriners Move Quickly to Save Marco After a Venomous Spider Bite

Meet Marco

Marco is happy and healthy again after a terrifying spider bite that almost forced doctors to amputate his leg. The 15-month-old is now recovering at Shriners Children’s Texas after a medical scare that all began on an average day at the family’s home in Monterrey, Mexico.

Marco’s mother Jenifer said she was doing yardwork at the family’s home in early May while Marco was outside with her in his stroller. At first, Jenifer said there were no signs that Marco was feeling sick, but a few days later Marcos came down with a high fever and Jenifer knew he needed help immediately.

“May 6th it happened then on May 9th I went to the public hospital,” she said. There, doctors quickly determined that Marco was bitten by a venomous spider. Marco’s leg, where he was bitten, was rapidly growing redder and more swollen.

Marco initially received medication and oxygen, but his lungs and kidneys were starting to fail because of the spider’s poison, according to his mother. The hospital in Monterrey took him into surgery and removed tissue from his leg. But the doctors at the hospital knew there was nothing else they could do to help Marco and worked to transfer his care to Shriners Children's, where he could get the best specialized care.

“I got a phone call from the university hospital saying they were willing to help and to transfer him here, since there was nothing else they could do for him back home,” Jenifer said. “The doctor referred his care to Shriners Children’s Texas.”

He informed me that they needed $35,000 to ensure a baby could be airlifted from Mexico to Galveston. I told him to make it happen, and Nile would pay the expense.
Dale Newman, Nile Shriners Potentate

Thanks to the Nile Shriners of Seattle, Washington, his travel was funded. They jumped into action as soon as they heard of Marco’s emergency.

“I was at the Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America’s Grand Sessions event with Imperial Sir Ed Stolze. During the event, he received a phone call and excused himself. After he returned to the table, he asked me how much money we had available in our travel fund,” Dale Newman, Nile Shriners Potentate, said. “He informed me that they needed $35,000 to ensure a baby could be airlifted from Mexico to Galveston. I told him to make it happen, and Nile would pay the expense.”

Marco underwent multiple surgeries and rehabilitation at Shriners. Jenifer said it becomes more and more obvious every day that Marco is feeling better and returning to his old self.

“Before the accident, he used to be really playful and hyperactive, but right after the accident he was really quiet and hardly moved. But, lately I’ve seen a lot of progress that he’s going back to what the baseline was,” she said.

Marco's Frightening Spider Encounter

Doctors believe that Marco's bite was possibly from a brown recluse, also known as a violin spider. Venom from these spiders can destroy skin tissue (necrosis) in the area surrounding the bite.

Marco with his mom

Marco and his mom, Jennifer.

Mexico map

Marco is from the city of Monterrey in Mexico, which is about 500 miles from Galveston.

Brown recluse spider

Marco was possibly bitten by a brown recluse spider, which is also called a violin spider. This name comes from the violin-shaped pattern on its head.

Next steps

Share Your Story

Our patients and families are at the heart of everything we do at Shriners Children's. We invite you to share how the team at Shriners Children's has helped your child.

Give to Shriners Children's

Through the generosity of donors like you, we've helped over one million children lead more fulfilling lives, regardless of their families' ability to pay.

Contact Us

Have a question or request? Need to make an appointment? We're here for you.