A government investigation has been launched into how a grandmother living in sheltered housing suffered injuries which her family believes were caused by multiple rat bites.
Pamela Hudson, who weighed just five stone, was rushed to hospital from her council home with injuries all over her face and body after being "gnawed" by a rat.
Doctors discovered that the 75-year-old bedridden mother had 50 bite wounds, believed to have been caused while in her council home in York.
Graphic pictures published in The Sun show the pensioner's bloodstained gown following the attack.
Her daughter Jan Derry believes that the rat became trapped in the bed and attacked her mother as the animal tried to get free.
The 48-year-old told The Sun: "When we got to the hospital they were wiping blood from mum's wounds. They put a bandage on, but the blood soaked right through within the hour.
"The thought of how many times she was bitten is awful.
"We fear it may have got trapped in the bed with her and just kept biting and biting. We don't know, and never will, if it was one or more."
The grandmother reportedly told one carer the rat "kept coming back". She died three months after the incident after she was transferred from Glen Lodge.
Her daughters consented to the publication of the images in the hope that they would prompt action after the city council refused to accept responsibility.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an investigation had been ordered into the case after seeing the shocking photos.
Hunt said: "These pictures are appalling and show the suffering of a vulnerable woman who, along with her family, was stripped of her dignity and badly let down.
"Working across government, ministers are ordering an investigation which will be launched in the coming days.
"Whatever the sort of social care provider, patients have a right to expect the highest standards, and that is what we are determined to secure."
Earlier this week, City of York Council said it had investigated the incident but could not find the cause of Mrs Hudson's injuries.
Martin Farran, director of adult social care, said: "We have worked closely with, and provided support to, Mrs Hudson and her family throughout the investigation into this incident.
"It is with regret that, despite extensive efforts by professional experts, environmental health and independent inspectors, we have been unable to determine the exact circumstances of how Mrs Hudson's injuries occurred.
"Our thoughts are with Mrs Hudson's family, who are understandably distressed by what has happened."