Metro Atlanta singer-songwriter nearly loses leg after getting bitten by brown recluse spider

ATLANTA — A local singer is warning people about the danger of spider bites after he almost lost his leg.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was in DeKalb County Monday, where he talked to Gabe Lustman.

A few weeks ago, he was in the hospital as doctors attempted to save his leg after a bite from a brown recluse spider.

Lustman doesn’t know when or where the spider bit him, but he knows it turned his life upside-down. He spent five days in the hospital.

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Doctors told him that if he had waited any longer to get treated, he could have lost his leg.

It all began a few weeks ago when he said his leg started turning colors. He felt excruciating pain.

“It started turning red and purple and stuff like that,” Lustman said. “It was disgusting.”


He was rushed to the hospital, and put on powerful pain medication and two types of antibiotics. An infectious disease specialist was able to determine a brown recluse spider bit him.

Dr. Gaylor Lopez with the Georgia Poison Control Center said the brown recluse is small but packs a powerful punch. He said people usually get bitten when they disturb the spider’s environment.

“Yearly, we will average anywhere from three to five cases a month,” Lopez said.

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Lopez said people usually will not know they have been bitten. He said if you experience itching and discoloration, fever and chills, a doctor needs to treat the infection. If not, you could lose a limb.

Lustman urges anyone who thinks they’ve been bitten to get help

“I wouldn’t sit and wait on it. Don’t wait for it to go away,” Lustman said. “You gotta be proactive.”

Lopez said you can call the Georgia Poison Center around the clock to speak with someone if you think you have been bitten.