A 26-year-old Texas daycare teacher had to have his foot amputated after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria infection that could have led to his death.
Raul Reyes injured his foot at work and initially thought he had a blister and swelling from the injury. But when the blister spread to his entire foot, he went to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston on Feb. 23 to have it checked out.
Doctors quickly realized that the infection had developed into flesh-eating bacteria and was so severe that they had to amputate his foot to stop it from spreading through his bloodstream, according to Chron.
“After a few days, it was still swollen and he has a blister on his foot, which he thought was caused by his shoe,” Reyes’ wife, Joseline Reyes, told the news outlet. “He woke up the next day and the blister was covering his entire foot so he went to the clinic, where they told him to get to the emergency room immediately.”
Doctors told Joseline that they “tried to get as much bacteria out, but that they had to amputate his foot in order to save his life,” she said.
The family has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a prosthetic foot for Raul, who is still in the hospital.
“He is very eager to start therapy for a prosthetic. He tells me that he’s not letting anything stop him from advancing,” Joseline told Chron. “He’s improving more every day. He just really wants to get back to work and go back to a normal life.”
According to the CDC, the symptoms of flesh-eating bacteria may seem like another illness or injury. Some people may complain of pain or soreness. The skin may be warm with red or purplish areas of swelling that spread rapidly. Some people get ulcers, blisters or black spots on the skin. Patients often describe their pain as severe and hurting much more than they would expect based on how the wound looks.
Good wound care is the best way to prevent a bacterial skin infection. Keep draining or open wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed, don’t delay first aid of even minor, non-infected wounds (like blisters, scrapes, or any break in the skin), avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water (e.g., lakes, rivers, oceans) if you have an open wound or skin infection and wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.