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Florida man almost loses leg to flesh-eating disease after getting bitten by a family member

Tom Wood

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| Last updated 

Florida man almost loses leg to flesh-eating disease after getting bitten by a family member

Featured Image Credit: HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital

A man from Florida nearly had to have his leg amputated and could even have died after he caught a flesh-eating infection from being bitten at a party.

And yes, he was bitten by another human, not a dog.

During a fight between family members at the party, Donnie Adams was bitten on the thigh as he tried to intervene.

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That’s strange enough as it is, but what happened next made things a whole lot worse.

The 53-year-old, who lives in a Tampa suburb called Riverview, had to go to the emergency room in February because a bump around the size of a dollar coin appeared on his leg.

He was given a tetanus shot and told to take a course of antibiotics, but things didn’t improve for him, and it got even more painful and swollen.

Donnie Adams. Credit: HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital
Donnie Adams. Credit: HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital
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His doctor, Dr Fritz Brink, said his leg ‘almost looked like an orange peel because of the swelling that was underneath it.’

"By day number three, the leg was swollen, it felt very warm and I had problems with mobility and everything," he continued.

As for the story of how he was bitten, Brink has reason to believe the story about getting bitten whilst separating family members.

"He pulled them off of each other and, in the process, he got bit," Brink continued.

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"When I saw him in the hospital, you could still see the bite marks on his thigh,

"It made teeth marks. I was very convinced that he was telling a true story."

Still, things kept getting worse, and Adams was rushed to an operating theater at the HCA Florida Northside Hospital on February 19, before another surgery a few days later.

It turned out he had necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating infection that can be life-threatening if not treated properly.

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It’s caused when bacteria gets into other body tissue, and it can be caused by things like strep-A, and bacteria found in water.

So, when he got bitten, some bacteria must have gone in.

It then started to kill tissue in his leg, spreading quickly.

Brink said: "More often than not, it’s a normal bacteria that lives on our skin and they utilized a weak point from an injury as an entryway.”

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Adams has Dr Fritz Brink to thank for his treatment. Credit: HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital
Adams has Dr Fritz Brink to thank for his treatment. Credit: HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital

The doctor reckons that Adams developed another less-serious infection from the bite, before it was able to ‘take off’ deeper in his leg.

For the surgery, Brink thinks he removed 60 percent of Adams’ left thigh skin, and – thankfully – he thinks his patient will fully recover.

"I would have lost my leg if I had waited to next day based on how the infection was growing in that region," Adams said. "It was a quiet storm."

As for what caused the party fight, he won’t say.

"Family is everything, and sometimes things go down in families," he explained. "I’m a man of faith.

“People can be forgiven and that’s the way I feel about that.

“It was a family event that went sour between two people and even though I got in middle of it and I got injured, it doesn’t mean I’m going to hate my family over this."

Topics: News, US News, Health, Weird, Science

Tom Wood
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