Aerial Spraying Malathion for Medfly in Florida ends woman's independence

The Rinks were not the only people to get sick in the cross-fire of Florida's crusade against the medfly. One of the most tragic cases is Barbara McFarland, a former security guard at a Tampa car dealership.

McFarland, then 66, was making her rounds checking the cars, as she did each night, when she saw a very low flying plane approach and fly directly over, dousing her with "a whole face full" of the spray. McFarland finished her rounds but not before the plane came back and drenched her again. She started vomiting immediately and went home. A little later, she says she could barely breathe.

The next day McFarland tried to get to her doctor but had to return home because she was too weak to walk the length of the parking lot into his office. The following day she went back to the doctor with her husband and ended up in the hospital for seven days, where she was given inhalers and oxygen, which she still needs. Other than occasional asthma, McFarland didn't have any preexisting health complaints, but now she says the doctors tell her she will never get better.

The physical and financial dependence on others since the spraying incident has been particularly hard for McFarland. "I worked ten hours a night and took care of all my own housekeeping, and now I can't even sweep my floors," she sighs. "I do some cooking, but there are days I can't even do that."

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