Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flesh Eating Bacteria in East Texas

Oh my, this is something you hear about in the news, but think will never happen to you or near you.  I'm rethinking that life philosophy right about now, because our neighbor got a flesh eating bacteria!

He got necrotizing fasciitis on his own property right down the road from us.

Here's what happened (as told to me by Neighbor, but I might not get every detail correct).  Neighbor had orthoscopic surgery on his knee a few weeks prior to getting the bacteria.  The knee surgery only involved two small holes on the top of his knee.  One was completely healed, but the other one was not.  The surgery and recovery was uneventful.

Neighbor waters his flowers with a garden hose pumping water from the pond that was dug within the last year or so.  So, he was watering the flowers and the water splashed onto his jeans getting him pretty wet.  Normally, this is not something to worry about.  I do it all the time.  Even though the water coming through my hose is our clean well water, sometimes it still sits in the hose for days, and hoses can be a breeding ground for this bacteria.  They think that the bacteria was either in the pond water or in the hose.

A couple of hours after watering the plants, Neighbor remarked to his wife (who is a retired nurse) that his knee felt funny "like there was bubble wrap under the skin".  They called the doctor and he said not to worry, that during surgery they blow air/gas into the leg and sometimes all of it doesn't come out right away and that he probably just had an air bubble come up.  So, Mrs. Neighbor went to run errands.  When she came home a couple of hours later, his whole knee and calf were swollen to twice the size and, if I remember correctly, an angry red, blotchy color.  She took one look at it, knew what it was and rushed her husband to the emergency room.

This bacteria is nothing to mess around with, people.  Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, Neighbor was rushed into surgery.  Afterwards, the doctor told him that if he had waited a couple of more hours, they would have had to amputate his leg.  And, if it were any longer, there would have been nothing they could do to save his life.

This is very scary.

Neighbor was kind enough to let me take pictures of his leg a few days after his surgery.  Don't be scared to look, it's not as gruesome as I thought it was going to be.

The surgeon opened up the whole side of his leg, on top of the knee (you can see the staples on top of the knee in the next picture) and under the knee and a little way up the thigh.

And, on the inside of the same leg.

It was opened up, scraped out, and left open to be scraped out again to make sure they got all of the affected tissue out.  After a few days, it was finally sewn up.  He is still in the hospital, but recovering nicely and hopes to be able to go home in a few days.

If you ever think you might have been exposed to something like this...tend to it immediately.  Do not wait.  I'm the worlds worse about those kinds of things.  I always have a "wait and see" attitude, hoping that whatever it is will resolve itself.  If I ever have a "bubble wrap" moment, though, I'm racing to the hospital as fast as I can go.


Beth Hudson said...

This is so scary. Hope he continues to recover. I'm like you - wait and see method. I appreciate the chlorinated water more now.

Mosaics said...

There was a case in the news recently of a little boy who got it from their water hose. Presumably, it was chlorinated city water running through the hose, but some water had sat in the hose for some undetermined amount of time. I doubt that many people make sure the hose is drained before winding it back up after they use it. I know I don't.