Florida Man Loses 25 Percent of Skin to Flesh-Eating Bacteria

August 27, 2019 Updated: August 27, 2019

A 50-year-old Florida man has had about 25 percent of his skin removed after being stricken with potentially deadly flesh-eating bacteria.

The man has undergone three operations, which removed about 25 percent of his skin, and is scheduled for one more after contracting flesh-eating bacteria, his wife said.

The wife of Orlando resident David Ireland told Fox News that on Aug. 16 her husband started showing signs of flu, including aches and a fever.

Jody Ireland added that five days later, when her husband’s condition took a turn for the worse, she took him to the hospital.

“It was unexpected,” she told Fox News. “He was fine one minute and sick the next.”

His kidneys have since failed and doctors have had to remove more than 25 percent of his skin.

“I’m a mess. I’m trying to be strong for my kids. I miss him. I want my husband back,” she told Fox News, adding that her husband “is not responsive at all.”

david ireland and family
David Ireland (L) and members of his family. Ireland has undergone three operations to remove about 25 percent of his skin after contracting flesh-eating bacteria, his wife said. (GoFundMe)

Daniel Ireland, the hospitalized man’s brother, said in a statement that he had been diagnosed with “necrotizing fasciitis,” adding that David Ireland is now in the intensive care unit at Florida Hospital, in critical condition.

“He has had three surgeries to remove over 25 percent of the skin on his body,” Daniel Ireland said, adding that there are encouraging indications his brother may pull through.

“His blood pressure and acid numbers from his liver are starting to level off, showing a hopeful sign of recovery,” he said.

Daniel Ireland set up a GoFundMe page to “cover his hospital bills, living expenses for his wife, Jody Ireland, and their two young girls, Ruth and Rebekah.”

His wife stated on Aug. 26: “David will need to have surgery to do a reversible colostomy to help prevent his bowel movements from entering his open wounds. They will also be checking for more infection and if so taking more skin off.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), necrotizing fasciitis, which is also known as flesh-eating disease, is a rare bacterial infection that in extreme cases can be fatal.

Jody Ireland told Fox News she was informed by medical staff that the bacteria entered her husband’s body through an open wound on his leg and “because he is diabetic, the bacteria turned into strep and started eating his flesh.”

She said doctors told him, “His hands and feet might have to be amputated, if he even survives.”

Virginia Woman Gets Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Visiting Beach

The case follows the story of a Virginia woman, who was diagnosed with a flesh-eating infection after visiting a local beach.

According to WTKR, Amanda Edwards and her friends visited Ocean View Beach in Norfolk last week, and the following day she had symptoms that made her suspect flesh-eating disease.

“I noticed this thing that came on my leg,” she told the TV station. “I ignored it for a couple days, and it just started getting bigger and bigger and bigger to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore.”

Edwards said doctors diagnosed her with a staph infection caused by flesh-eating bacteria. They drained the swollen area and prescribed antibiotics.

She said doctors told her the bacteria probably entered her system through an open wound.

Dead After Walking on Florida Beach

Various cases of flesh-eating bacteria have been reported in Florida in recent months.

The condition can be caused by several different types of bacteria, and is often known by the medical term “necrotizing fasciitis.”

“Necrotizing means causing the death of tissues,” according to the CDC, noting that the condition is rare.

“Fasciitis means inflammation of the fascia (the tissue under the skin that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels),” the agency says on its website.

Once an infection takes hold, it can develop and spread rapidly, killing tissue as it grows.

One in 3 Cases Result in Death

The condition is more likely to occur in those with conditions that lower immunity, notably diabetes, kidney problems, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer.

According to the CDC, early symptoms of the condition include a red or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, and a fever.

Although these symptoms can also be caused by minor illnesses, the CDC warns to err on the sided of caution. “See a doctor right away if you have these symptoms after an injury or surgery.”

“Later symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include: Ulcers, blisters, or black spots on the skin … changes in the color of the skin … pus or oozing from the infected area,” the agency says.

Dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea are also symptoms.

“Even with treatment, up to 1 in 3 people with necrotizing fasciitis die from the infection,” according to the CDC website. Fortunately, the condition is not infectious and very rarely can be passed on through contact.

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