Child stabbed in the chest by a catfish in Florida, authorities say

Published: June 22, 2022 5:32 AM EDT
Updated: June 22, 2022 7:18 AM EDT
A 40-lbs catfish. Credit: CBS

A child in Florida was airlifted to a hospital after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish, the Pasco County Fire Department said.

The child’s mother was driving to the hospital after the incident when she pulled over on US-19 in New Port Richey, on the state’s west coast near Tampa, and called for help because the child was having a hard time breathing. Firefighters responded and listed the child as a trauma alert after evaluating the catfish barb, lodged approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in the child’s chest. The child was then airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, the department said.

The department shared a video of the helicopter on Facebook and Twitter. CBS News has reached out to the fire department for more information and is awaiting a response.

Channel catfish are abundant throughout Florida, and they spawn in holes and crevices in flowing water, according to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Venomous catfish stings are common worldwide and while some are harmless, some can cause severe pain, retained foreign bodies, infection, respiratory compromise, arterial hypotension and cardiac dysrhythmias, according to a study published by the U.K.’s National Library of Medicine.

There are several types of catfish and some can cause human envenomation – or the exposure of venom to humans. “Venom is delivered through a single dorsal spine and two pectoral spines,” the study states. “Clinically, a catfish sting is comparable to that of a stingray. The marine catfish envenomations are generally more severe than those of their freshwater counterparts.”