June 9, 2023 | 2:53 p.m
A Florida man nearly lost his leg when he contracted a nasty flesh-eating bacterial infection — after being bitten by a family member during a fight.
Tampa Bay resident Donnie Adams developed a small, painful gash after a relative sank his teeth into his right thigh while trying to break up a fight at a family gathering in February.
Thinking it was a harmless injury, he took it upon himself to get a tetanus shot and a course of antibiotics, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
However, after three days, Adams could no longer walk.
The 52-year-old returned to Florida Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg and was immediately rushed into emergency surgery.
“I never thought a human bite would turn into something as horrific as a flesh-eating bacteria,” Adams told WWLA.
When wound care specialist Fritz Brink administered the first incision, a gray fluid oozed from Adams’ leg.
Brink told the Tampa Bay Times.
70 percent of the tissue in Adams’ thigh had to be removed.
He then needs follow-up surgery to remove the remaining infected tissue.
A flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis kills the tissue around muscles and nerves.
Although it’s common among swimmers in warmer climates, doctors have never seen a case where it’s certain it came from someone else’s mouth.
Brink told the Tampa Bay Times that while the deadly germ has a unique distribution, the human mouth is an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
“Human bites are dirtier than dog bites,” the wound care expert said. “Normal bacteria in the wrong place can be a real problem.”
If Adams puts off returning to the hospital for another day, Brink said the infection could spread to his stomach, which could be fatal.
Adams lost his own brother to septic shock, the WFL reported.
“If I had waited and waited until the next day after our second visit, there was a chance I would have lost my leg,” Adams told the newspaper.
After spending three weeks in the hospital recovering from the surgery, Adams had to undergo an additional six months of treatment for the serious injury, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Still, Brink told the newspaper that Adams’ positive attitude and strict adherence to the diet plan cut his expected recovery time in half.
He learned how to treat the wound himself, and Brink continued treating Adams even after his insurance stopped covering the treatment.
Adams, who works at a funeral home, said his healing came through prayer and meditation.
He buried the fox with his relatives.
“The concerned parties are very sad,” he said.
Even so, Adams’ leg is still sore and occasionally painful – but he’s grateful to the doctors who saved his leg.