This is the first case I can recall involving paralysis because the spine was directly involved. The location of the bite was obviously a factor. Most recluse bites are not serious; in fact, only around 20% become medically serious at all. It's the few gruesome cases like this that make the news.
Thanks to Bob Z. for the news tip.
Fla. Man Dies From Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Yahoo: ""It bit him right on the back of his neck and rotted out to the vertebrae," Bill Reese told WFTS. "He wasn't afraid of anything. He thought he was invincible. But he wasn't.""