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Metro Detroit man bit by brown recluse spider nearly loses hand

Posted at 5:09 AM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 13:44:53-04

Bill Lubanski of St. Clair Shores, Michigan nearly lost his left hand after doctors believe he was bitten by a brown recluse spider.

Lubanski said an unexpected encounter while he was camping in Lapeer County two weeks ago put his job and his wedding in jeopardy.

"It was scary," Lubanski said. "It was like someone was going to take something away from me that I truly needed and that was my hand."

He woke up during his camping trip with a swollen pinky. Throughout the day, the swelling got worse.

He went to Saint John's Hospital in Detroit where doctors rushed him into emergency surgery. They told him he had a nasty infection.

As he was coming out of surgery, doctors delivered more frightening news.

"Before he even unwrapped it, he came in and said, 'I'm going to tell you something.' He said 'I don't know if I can save your hand or not.' I said 'you're kidding me.' He said 'it was pretty bad'."

"I can't imagine having my hand amputated," Lubanski said.

Doctors think the infection was caused by a brown recluse spider bite. They say Lubanski still isn't out of the woods; his infection has not gone away completely and he's on several antibiotics.

Lubanski said he's suffered tissue and nerve damage, and it's unclear if his hand will fully recover.

For now, he's looking forward to his wedding.

"They removed my ring in the hospital and she's been wearing it since I took it off. I love her. She is my world," Lubanski said. "Glad I still have my hand and she's able to put the ring there."