Goose Creek Man Fighting Flesh Eating Bacteria
WARNING: Some viewers might find this story disturbing.
GOOSE CREEK, SC (CAROLINE BALCHUNAS, WTAT-TV) — Contracting a flesh-eating bacteria is rare, but it has happened to a Goose Creek man. He is slowly recovering, but the infection is far from over.
Tommy Douglas was infected exactly a month ago, after swimming in Lake Marion. Since then, he’s had four surgeries and still has several more to go.
“You don’t sleep because every time you move, you hurt. I just feel useless,” Douglas said, battling the worst infection of his life. “Especially when you sit down and look and can see the bone and the muscles and everything. It’s like half your arm is gone.”
His left arm is wrapped, which hides an open wound from his wrist to elbow.
It all started after a trip to Harry’s Fish Camp, where he swam in Lake Marion.
He said he had a small scrape on his arm but didn’t think anything of it.
“It was a little scratch, a normal, little scratch,” he said.
But 24 hours after swimming, he said his forearm was so swollen he thought it would burst open.
“When I went to Northwoods (hospital), I figured I had slept on it wrong, cut off blood circulation, but that wasn’t the case,” he said.
He was admitted to the hospital and had emergency surgery.
Even though he’s on aggressive antibiotics and painkillers, it’s extremely painful. His sister, Sonya Saglime, said it’s been a rough month.
“The hardest part? Watching my brother go through all the pain, several surgeries, when they change out his bandages, it’s extremely painful for him,” Saglime said.
She said pathology tests came back and showed Douglas contracted two types of flesh-eating bacteria: Pseudomones Stutzeri and Enterobacter Cloacae.
Both strains are commonly found in natural water and soil, but human infection is rare.
“It’s very wild; you hear about it on the news, you think that happens to other people and then it happens to somebody you know, a friend or a loved one, and you’re just like, ‘wow,'” she said.
Luckily, Tommy will not lose his arm. He did get medical attention just in time.
But this does serve as a reminder — if you have an open wound, cut or a scrape, you should avoid swimming in natural waters especially during the hot summer months.
Tommy still has several more surgeries ahead of him to remove infected tissue out of his arm. He does not know how many more surgeries he will need before he’s finally in the clear.