Young child rushed to hospital after being stabbed in chest by catfish spines

A child was impaled by catfish spines during a fishing trip and had to be rushed to hospital in a helicopter.

Police called the child's situation "very odd" because the barb of a catfish usually hits the leg or creates a gash somewhere, but penetrating someone's chest is unusual.

The incident happened in New Port Richey in Florida and the child suffered shortness of breath afterwards.

Pasco County Fire Rescue PIO Corey Dierdorff said: "I’ve never heard of something like that.

"You hear of fisherman that might be cut by a barb or hit in the back of the leg and get an infection, but never heard of one penetrating the chest."

The child, who is under 10, was flown by helicopter to St Joseph's hospital in Tampa where she is in a stable condition.

Dierdorff said it is unknown whether the catfish was venomous.

His force took to Twitter to share footage of their helicopter rushing the child to hospital.

Replying to a Twitter user, Pasco Fire Rescue explained: "The child was stabbed in the chest by the catfish’s stinger.

"The stinger entered the chest cavity approximately 1-1.5 inches and caused shortness of breath. We are hoping for a speedy recovery."

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A 2009 report by National Geographic revealed that half of more than 3,000 catfish species are venomous.

An expert said that catfish venom is only used for defence, not hunting.

Nat Geo added: "When a catfish feels threatened by a bigger fish, it can pop out the collapsible spines that usually lie close to its sides, making its body wider and harder to swallow.

"If the predator bites anyway, the sharp spines cut into its mouth.

"Meanwhile, pressure on the spines causes them to shift at their bases, ripping the skin over adjacent venom glands. Venom spills out and into the predator's mouth wounds."

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