This woman falls asleep in her hospital bed. When she wakes, she discovers hundreds of these creatures crawling over her.

Hospital cleanliness generally has a poor reputation. It’s the place where you’d hope the most stringent hygienic standards were being maintained, but a lack of staff has meant that hospitals are often left in unimaginable conditions.

Yet San Paolo hospital in Naples, Italy, seems to have plummeted to new depths, triggering a nationwide scandal. At this medical center, a woman suffering from septic shock following a fracture woke up to find something truly horrifying between the sheets of her bed: hundreds of tiny ants!

It’s not known whether hospital staff or the woman’s relatives discovered the insect infestation first, or indeed who took the revealing photo. But when a member of parliament from the opposition Green Party published the image online, it was met with national outcry and sparked a heated debate on conditions in Italian hospitals.

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