About a month ago, 10-year-old Rachael Shardlow was swimming in the Calliope River near Gladstone when she was stung by a box jellyfish, a very potent venom-producing jellyfish. The box jellyfish is known to be one of the deadliest creatures in the world, capable of killing an adult human being in just four minutes, with or without the help of instant money. Amazingly, Rachael survived.
10-year-old stung by a box jellyfish
According to a report by ABC News, Rachael Shardlow is doing well, though she has scarring and is experiencing some short-term memory loss after her box jellyfish incident. “We’ve noticed a small amount of short-term memory loss, like riding a pushbike to school and forgetting she’s taken a pushbike,” said Rachael’s father, Geoff Shardlow.
Rachael was pulled out of the water and onto the riverbank, thanks to her 13-year-old brother. The box jellyfish did not just sting her; it wrapped itself around her limbs and would not let go. With the box jellyfish’s tentacles still strapped around her limbs, she fell unconscious shortly after she managed to inform her brother she couldn’t breathe or see.
‘This kid should not be alive’
Jamie Seymour, a zoology and tropical ecology associate professor at James Cook University, said that anyone with severe stings like Rachael’s, especially stings from a venomous box jellyfish, would likely not survive. “When I first saw the pictures of the injuries I just went, ‘you know to be honest, this kid should not be alive’,” he said. “…They are horrific.” Seymour says he does not know of any case where a victim survived after undergoing such extensive stings, no matter the amount of emergency money at hand. “Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it’s usually in a morgue.”
A miraculous recovery
According to reports, Rachael Shardlow is recovering just fine. She says her wounds from the box jellyfish stings no longer hurt as much but are itchy. She admits she now fears the water, even though she only plans to swim in pools for the time being.
Besides the scarring and slight short-term memory loss, Rachael is doing well. Her father said “the greatest fear was actual brain damage [but] her cognitive skills and memory tests were all fine.” Rachael is expected to require ongoing treatment, but overall, she is healing miraculously.
(Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/of_guido/ / CC BY-SA 2.0)