A man in Florida lost his leg to a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection that developed after being bitten by a man while breaking up a family feud. According to a report by NBC News.
Tony Adams, a 53-year-old funeral home assistant from the Tampa suburb of Riverview, was treated in mid-February for a painful swelling of the thigh from the bite. He told doctors he was bitten when he tried to break up a fight between two family members. He was bitten in the process of pulling the pair together.
He declined to say what sparked the fight or which family member actually bit him. But doctors believed his story after seeing the wound.
“When I saw him at the hospital, you could still see the bite marks on his thigh,” Dr. Fritz Brink, a wound care specialist at HCA Florida Healthcare who treated Adams, told NBC News. “It made teeth marks. I was pretty sure he was telling a true story.”
The human mouth is full of bacteria, and many species can cause flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis. The list of possible culprits includes group A StreptococcusIt is considered not only the most common type of bacteria but also the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Group A Strep Causes strep throat, scarlet fever, cellulitis and other diseases, in addition to flesh-eating infections. Some people carry the bacteria in their throat, mouth, nose and/or skin without symptoms.
It’s unclear which specific bacterium was behind Adams’ case. Brink speculated that Adams had originally developed a mild infection that had spread deep into the soft tissue and “was just about to be picked up.”
When Adams was first treated in the emergency room, he was given antibiotics and a tetanus shot. But the infection continued to worsen over the next few days. His leg became swollen and painful and he struggled to walk. When Brink looked at Adams’ thigh, he said it looked like an orange peel.
Adams was rushed into surgery on February 19 to remove the rotten tissue. A few days later he needed a second operation. He stayed in the hospital till the second week of March. Brink estimates he removed 60 percent of the skin on the front of Adams’ thigh to keep the infection from spreading. A vacuum device was used to close the wound.
Adams is now pain free and limp. Despite lingering scar tissue, Brink expects to make a full recovery.
As for his bitten family member, Adams said he swallowed any bitterness.
“Family is everything, and sometimes things fall apart in families,” he said. “I’m hopeful, people will be forgiven, I feel about it, it was a family event, it was sad between two people, and even though I fell in the middle and got hurt, that doesn’t mean I’m going to hate my family for this.”