Ex-soap actor, Philips, could lose foot after spider bite

Matthew needs to re-dress his foot daily. [Mirror]
A former soap actor could lose his foot after being bitten by a poisonous spider while on a lads' trip in Las Vegas.

Matthew Phillips developed a gaping wounds after being nipped by a tiny Brown Recluse.

The creepy crawly is only the size of a 20 pence piece but is more venomous than a rattlesnake.

The 44-year-old, who has featured in Emmerdale and other TV shows, reckons he was attacked as he stayed at the Hotel Wynn or flew back to Manchester but due to existing nerve damage caused by diabetes didn't notice until it was too late, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Now the unsightly gash needs daily re-dressing to ensure he doesn't lose the entire foot because of secondary infection.

By the time he realised he had been bitten the venom had taken root and rotted away a large portion of the top of his right foot.

The nerve damage in his feet is so severe doctors at Salford Royal Hospital didn't need to use anaesthetic as they removed the dead flesh, leaving a hole the size of a golf ball.

Mr Phillips took photos of the procedure and is making them public to serve as a warning to people like him who have type 2 diabetes, failed to control the condition and have ended up with feet that are vulnerable to infection.

He doesn't want to be added to a startling statistic - it is estimated there are 169 diabetes-related amputations in the UK every week.

The dad-of-two, from Whitefield, returned from Vegas on June 16.

What started out as a 'little red dot' on his right foot began to get 'blacker and blacker and more and more swollen'.

He went to hospital and was told by medics Brown Recluse spiders, which are native to some states in the US, are not aggressive but have been linked to some deaths, all of them children.

"I could have stood on a nail and I wouldn't know about it. They cut away all the dead flesh and dead tissue and it was revolting. It was the most gruesome thing I have ever seen," he said.

Maintaining clean dressings is essential if he is to save his foot.

"I have to really keep on top of it," said Matthew.

He still has some poison in his system which is affecting his balance and makes it hard to walk.

Mr Phillips, who is married to Joanne, admitted his daughter Ella, 13, and son Leo, recoiled when he changed his dressings.

"When I'm re-dressing it, they can't stand it. They both start having to walk out of the room", he said.

Mr Phillips admitted he is now 'scared to go out' and has become a semi-recluse.

He admits his predicament is partly of his own making.

At the age of 19 he weighed 20 stone and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes but refused to take medication or heed warnings from his doctors because he thought he was 'invincible'.

It was only in his late 30s that he started to control his diet and he is now just under 13 stone.

But his high blood sugar levels has caused lasting nerve damage.

He said: "I should have kept better diabetic control. I should have kept my blood sugar low but when you are 19 you think you are invincible and you carry on eating crap or do the wrong things because you think it's never going to affect you.

"I should have looked after my diet and taken my medication properly. I should have listened. I didn't do that and I hold my hands up. You aren't interested in people telling you what's going to happen to you in your 60s.

"You do think you are invincible but you are far from it. I carried on eating the wrong things, as a result I did quite a lot of damage.

"Don't be an idiot. Listen to what the doctors are telling you. They are not telling you lies. It's all true. They are not doing it to scare you. They are telling you the truth so listen."

He added: "I hold my hands up. If I wouldn't have neglected myself in the past this would not be like this. But I did and I hold my hands up. It's my fault what I had done in the past."

While he hopes others with Type 2 diabetes heed his story rather than 'lose a leg or a foot in the future', Matthew is determined not to descend into self-pity.

"What am I supposed to do? Do I sit in the corner all day and cry about it or do I make the most out of it? I've got to think this has happened. Do I give up or do I just carry on? I'm not one to give up. I just carry on", he said.

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Matthew PhillipsBrown RecluseEmmerdaleSalford Royal HospitalLas Vegas