Ants Bite Elderly Woman 1,625 Times

Thursday, May 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — An 87-year-old nursing home patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease died after she was bitten 1,625 time by ants as she lay in her bed, authorities said.

The Sarasota County medical examiner's office is investigating the death of Mary L. Morales Gay, who died Friday, said Wilson Broussard, deputy chief medical examiner. He declined to identify the nursing home.

The official cause of death is pending toxicology tests, but the woman was severely bitten by either fire ants or red ants, Broussard said Thursday.

Gay, who suffered from heart disease as well as Alzheimer's, did not have an allergic reaction to the bites and likely lived for hours after being bitten, he said.

The ant bites were on the right side of her chest, upper arm and part of her abdomen and back and appeared to have come over a period of time, Broussard said.

Gay's son Edgar W. Gay of Sarasota declined to comment. The family is talking to an attorney.

Neither the state's Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates nursing homes, could confirm an investigation.

Gay, the co-owner of Gay's Trucking in Venice for 10 years, was buried Tuesday.