Krystal Pavan’s eight-month-old daughter Kenzie was rushed to the hospital in Victoria last Thursday after eating a caterpillar. She will make a full recovery. (Submitted photo)

B.C. infant receives emergency medical care after eating caterpillar

Eight-month-old child on Vancouver Island taken to hospital for surgery to remove caterpillar parts

A mother in Nanaimo received a scare last Thursday when her eight-month-old daughter ingested a caterpillar and needed emergency medical care.

Krystal Pavan was with her daughter Kenzie and three-year-old son Logan around 9 a.m. May 31 on their sundeck when the infant girl began screaming.

“She was sitting playing with her toys and eating one of her Arrowroot cookies,” said Pavan. “I guess one of the caterpillars must’ve just crawled out in front of her from underneath our patio furniture or something and I didn’t notice and she decided to pop it in her mouth … so when she started screaming I had no idea why.”

It wasn’t until 20 minutes later that Pavan noticed Kenzie had what appeared to be a burn in her mouth and what appeared to be blood blisters inside her cheek, Pavan said. She tried wiping Kenzie’s mouth, but the black remained.

Pavan rushed Kenzie to hospital and one of the nurses told a story about how her daughter had got hold of a caterpillar and similarly had black around her mouth.

“I started thinking to myself, well, I do have caterpillars quite often around my deck, I wonder if that’s what she got a hold of? Sure enough when I mentioned the caterpillar to the doctor, he’s like, ‘That’s exactly what it is. You can see all the little tentacles are fused to the side of her cheek. All the tiny hairs are spines that they have were stuck to her tongue,” Pavan said, adding that other medical staff at the hospital had never seen anything like it before.

Kenzie was taken by ambulance to the pediatric ward at the hospital in Victoria for surgery. Pavan said it required doctors scraping the caterpillar parts off and some of her skin coming with it. Kenzie was in good spirits though and will make a full recovery, according to Pavan.

Pavan suspects the caterpillar was a silver spotted tiger moth common to the area. Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer, couldn’t comment specifically, but said occurrences of someone ingesting such a caterpillar are uncommon – usually incidents involve skin exposure.

Generally, Hasselback said if someone were to put such a caterpillar in their mouth, there would be swelling as the area is sensitive.

“It’s mostly the swelling that would be notable along with a stinging sensation,” said Hasselback.

Pavan said she will now ensure there are no caterpillars on her deck.

“I’m definitely being pretty diligent about looking out for them now,” said Pavan.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health and safety regulations to be followed by schools as they reopen Monday

Ministry of Education wrote a letter to parents dated May 28.

B.C. Court of Appeal upholds lower court decision on western boundary of Treaty 8

Several first nations believe the western boundary was and always has been at the Rocky Mountains

School will look a lot different, says Fort St. James Secondary School principal

The principal wrote a letter to parents informing them about what to expect at school on June 1.

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read