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Florida Man Mike Walton, Who Was Pricked By Fish Hook, Nearly Loses Hand To Flesh-Eating Bacteria

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A Florida man contracted flesh-eating bacteria after he was pricked by a fish hook while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Small Prick From A Fish Hook

Mike Walton said the incident happened on Saturday, but this was not the first time he had been stuck by a hook. He said it was something that has happened many times before while he was fishing, and it was a small prick.

The injury this time, however, was more serious, and his hand started to swell. He went to a hospital for treatment and received antibiotics, but his condition worsened.

The next day, Easter Sunday, he noticed black bubbles on his injured hand.

"I had like little blisters starting to form on my hand and you could watch like sweat beads coming up on side of the hand, and then they just turned black," Walton said.

He was then rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where he was placed in the burn unit so infectious disease doctors could treat him.

Necrotizing Fasciitis

Doctors found he had the flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that rarely occurs in the United States.

Doctors considered amputating his arm because the infection was spreading quickly, and it is possible Walton might lose his arm.

Fortunately, they were able to remove the bacteria by cutting out the infected tissues. They also performed a skin graft on his hand up to his arm.

Lucky

It is not clear if Walton will retain the full function of his limb, but he was alive, and doctors were able to save his arm. Some were not as lucky and died after contracting the disease.

Walton was released from the hospital on Wednesday, albeit he will be on antibiotics for a month.

Eric McLendon, the owner of Ozona Fish Camp, which has been helping raise funds for Walton while he is unable to work for the next few months, said the experience did not seem to deter Walton from fishing again.

"He is optimistic and looking forward to fishing again," he said. "He has been fishing his whole life here and fishes as often as possible. He would fish every day if time would allow."

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