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Man lost both hands up to his forearms and was left fighting for life after being bitten by flea
Featured Image Credit: OX26 / Gofundme/JLeene Hardaway

Man lost both hands up to his forearms and was left fighting for life after being bitten by flea

He 'almost died once or twice', according to his brother

A man lost both his hands, part of his feet and was left battling for his life after being bitten by a flea.

Michael Kohlhof was rushed to hospital in San Antonio, Texas last month after suffering flu-like symptoms and losing feeling in his toes, his family have said.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, 35-year-old Kohlhof went into septic shock and was taken into intensive care.

Across the next 24-hours, Kohlhof’s condition worsened dramatically as his organs began to fail and he was placed on a ventilator, dialysis, vasopressors and given numerous IV medications, including antibiotics, as medics fought to save his life.

His brother Greg told KENS5 that Kohlhof ‘almost died once or twice’.

“They were worried about him being brain dead,” he added.

Miraculously, after 11 more days Kohlhof began to turn a corner and he was taken off the ventilator and sedation medication and opened his eyes for the first time.

Michael Kohlhof was placed onto a ventilator.

However, he has been left with severe injuries, according to his mom J’Leene Hardaway, who explained on a GoFundMe page that her son developed dry gangrene as result of one of the medications that saved his life.

The gangrene was beyond the point that it could be treated so doctors were forced to amputate his hands up to the forearms as well as half of his feet earlier this week.

Doctors believe Kohlhof’s potentially deadly sepsis came from typhus, which he picked up after being bitten by a flea.

His mom said: “He was the victim of a severe and traumatic bite from one single flea.”

The 35-year-old had to have his hands and part of his feet amputated.
Fox 26 News

The family were told by medics that the type typhus Kohlhof had is incredibly rare in the US.

According to the Centers for Disease Control: “Untreated [typhus] can cause severe illness and damage to one or more organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain.”

Usually, those infected seek treatment quite quickly after spotting the bite is swollen or developed a rash, but Greg says his brother didn’t begin to show symptoms until it was too late.

Despite the horrific experience, Kohlhof’s partner Alishpa Masood says he has a ‘positive outlook’.

She told the news outlet: “He has gone beyond our expectations as far as strength and bravery. He has a really positive outlook that we’re all really proud of.”

The family have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of medical bills, which you can donate to here.

Topics: US News, Health