A man who died after being attacked by wasps in San Diego’s Valley Center area had an underlying medical condition, the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Monday.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and officials from the Valley Center Fire Department were called to the 12500-block of Montaya Drive and Lilac Knolls Road just before 2 p.m. Thursday to investigate reports of a man who had sustained numerous stings.
When officials arrived, they found a 67-year-old man suffering from stings in medical distress. He developed respiratory difficulty, and though medics performed CPR on the man, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A San Diego County Medical Examiner's report states that the man, Bruce Umland, was stung multiple times by wasps, not bees as previously announced.
His autopsy revelaed that he died from anaphylaxis from the stings, and a contributing condition was hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the attack victim had been working in his front yard when he was stung. No one else was injured in the incident.
Sgt. Jeff Lauhon said Umland had been conducting a permitted controlled burn on his property, clearing out rubbish and brush, when the smoke may have disturbed a wasp nest in the area.
Lauhon said deputies had not determined how many times Umland was stung.
The man’s son, Jamey Umland, said his father was stung at least three times and seemed fine at first. He continued to work in the yard for a while before collapsing.
“[The smoke] roused a bunch of bees and next thing I know, he’s been stung a couple times, not feeling good,” Jamey explained. “It was downhill from there. I didn’t even have time. I called 911.”
Again, the medical examiner's office clarified Friday that Umland was stung by wasps, not bees.
Lauhon said the tiny culprits were gone by the time deputies arrived on scene and said the incident does not appear to be tied to a swarm.
Lauhon said a fatal case like this is uncommon for the area.
“This is a very rare event for us here. Very rarely do we get these sort of calls," he said.
Deputies said the victim did have an existing medical condition, but did not disclose additional details on that.