- Donnie Adams, a Tampa Bay resident, was at a family event in February when a tense situation developed between the two family members. He tried to get between them, but ended up being bitten.
- “By the third day my feet started to hurt a lot. It was so hot and so painful I couldn’t even walk,” Adams said.
- He was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, underwent emergency surgery, and his leg was saved.
ST. Petersburg, Florida (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay, Florida man survived an infection of flesh-eating bacteria that began destroying tissue in his legs.
“What you see now is not just a scar, it’s the beauty that will come,” said Donnie Adams, who credited his life to the power of doctors, meditation and prayer. “I never imagined that a human bite could turn into something as terrifying as a bacteria that eats people.”
Adams was at a family event in February when a tense situation developed between the two family members. He tried to get between them, but ended up being bitten. He went to the hospital to get a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
“By the third day my feet started to hurt a lot. It was so hot and so painful I couldn’t even walk,” Adams said.
The infection worsened, and Adams was rushed to the ER at HCA Florida-Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg.
“I looked at him and said he needed to take you to the operating room,” recalls Fritz Brink, an osteopathic doctor at HCA in Florida.
Brink said he found an even worse disease than he expected: necrotizing fasciitis. This bacterial condition, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria, travels along muscle sheaths and destroys healthy tissue. It can be caused by many bacteria, but group A is the most common. Streptococcus Bacteria usually enter after entering through skin crevices, according to . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In Adams’ case, Brink believes the bacteria got into his body through someone else’s bite.
“We have a lot of very bad bacteria living between our teeth in our mouths,” says Brink.
Mr. Brink performed a second operation to remove infected tissue from Adams’ thigh.
“If I had waited until the day after my second ER visit, I could very well have lost my leg,” Adams said.
They may also have gone into septic shock, which can be fatal.
Brink noted that bacterial infections can progress very quickly. He also urged people with wounds to watch for signs of a worsening infection, such as increased redness, pain or warmth, and, like Adams, seek immediate medical attention.
“They diagnosed my scars, which were very bad,” Adams recalled. “It was incredible. But in my heart, I knew that whatever it was, I had to get over it.”
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