bed bug bites

Woman Killed by Bed Bug Bites?

In a rare, tragic incident a 96-year old woman has died as a direct result of bed bug bites. Or at least that’s what the numerous headline’s we’ve seen over the last couple weeks state. Even The Onion has chimed in on it. But was she really killed by bed bug bites?

Though she would not have died if she had not been bitten by bed bugs, her death was a direct result of neglect and, frankly, abuse by her caretaker. Her bites were left untreated and ultimately developed into open wounds which turned septic, leading to the infection that ultimately killed her.  Reports on the incident include interviews with a blind woman who was also under the care of Deborah Butler and who felt the bugs crawling over her and was powerless to do anything.

bed bug bites

Could these be fatal?

It’s important to note that this does not mean bed bug bites are more dangerous than we’ve previously thought. This was not a simple case of someone being bitten so much that they were killed, or of the bed bugs themselves causing an infection that led to death. Instead it was a vulnerable woman who relied on others for care who died as a result of lack of proper medical attention.

While it’s a relief to see that  the caretaker is being charged with neglect and involuntary manslaughter this is still an awful outcome for a problem that could have been fixed. Bed bug infestations – no matter how severe they get – are treatable if you take the time and effort to fight them. The caretaker has stated that she was unable to afford to get professional help for the infestation; while cost can be a burden that prevents many people from fighting their infestation it should never be an excuse for letting someone die.

8 replies
  1. Patricia Jackson
    Patricia Jackson says:

    Alcohol and a spray bottle kills that stuff there is no excuse why this woman could not be taken care of..alcohol dries them out and kills them ..they sell bed bug powder you lightly sprinkle around your house and furniture at it’s also safe for children and no excuse why this woman could not have been taken care of..$4-6 for a tube of hydrocortisone cream to prevent infection.. this really makes me mad..

    • Tracy
      Tracy says:

      I’ve been a registered nurse for more than 20 years. There is a lot more to getting rid of these bugs than a little alcohol. Bedding, towels and clothing worn within 3 days must be washed in very hot water. They die without a host after 3 days. The best way to get rid of them is treat yourself and all household members from the neck down and stay somewhere else for 3 days while they die. Please do not believe these bugs go quietly. THEY DON’T.
      The caregiver should be prosecuted in this case for neglect of a dependent elder!!!

  2. chanelle
    chanelle says:

    This is the most desisting thing and to all people who look after people you are more disgusting then that picture you are the reason why people that get looked at like u kill people they would probably b alive it’s you guys are the reason people die I hope this comment will b read or seen and get in the paper s it horrible

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Caretakers are gross if they can’t afford to take care of them, why don’t they give the person to someone who can afford to take care of the person.


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