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Florida child stabbed in chest by catfish barb while fishing

NEW PORT RICHEY – A child was stabbed in the chest by a barb from a catfish during a fishing trip, according to Pasco County sheriff’s officials.

The child’s mother began driving toward a hospital on Monday afternoon but stopped in New Port Richey and called 911 when the child started having difficulty breathing, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

Firefighters discovered the barb was embedded 1 to 1 1/2 inches in the child’s chest, said the agency’s spokesman Corey Dierdorff. The child was then airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.

Dierdorff said he didn’t know how or where the child was stung, or what kind of catfish it was. He said the child was under 10 years old, but that he didn’t have an exact age or the sex of the child.

Catfish have spines and stingers on their fins and the underside of their bodies. Because of this, anglers are cautious around catfish, but Dierdorff said he had never heard of anything like this incident.

“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,” he said.

Catfish stings can cause swelling and numbness, and typically need to be treated with an antibiotic to prevent infection. 

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