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A Dad-Of-Two Almost Died After Catching Rare Flesh-Eating Infection While Gardening

A Dad-Of-Two Almost Died After Catching Rare Flesh-Eating Infection While Gardening

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF FLESH EATING BUG SURGERY

A dad-of-two almost died after catching a rare flesh eating bug when he cut his hand gardening.

Steve Palmer, 34, nicked the middle finger on his right hand while clearing debris which had swept into his garden from a river during the recent floods.

The initial cut on Steve's finger. Credit: SWNS
The initial cut on Steve's finger. Credit: SWNS
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He thought nothing of it until the next morning when his finger appeared red and swollen.

Steve went to work with his father-in-law but was stunned when his hand ballooned in size and his arm had turned black.

Steve's finger and hand went red and swollen. Credit: SWNS
Steve's finger and hand went red and swollen. Credit: SWNS

He was rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed him with necrotising fasciitis, a potentially fatal flesh-eating bacteria.

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He was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where surgeons operated to remove the dead and infected tissue from his arm.

A plastic surgeon was able to save his arm from being amputated and Steve is expected to take a year before making a full recovery.

The cut allowed bacteria inside. Credit: SWNS
The cut allowed bacteria inside. Credit: SWNS

Steve, who worked as an air conditioning engineer, has posted graphic pictures of his blackened arm on Facebook in a bid to warn others.

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He said: "It was terrifying, it was like something from a horror movie. I could literally see my entire arm turning black.

"When the surgeon looked at my hand all the blood vessels in my knuckles had turned to mush.

"I just want to warn people to be careful and to wear gloves while gardening, particularly now that people will probably be spending more time in their gardens due to the coronavirus lockdown."

Steve was gardening with his wife Laura, 34, at their home in Polesworth, Warwickshire, on 7 March when he cut his finger.

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He said: "Me and my wife were in the garden tidying up. We live on the back of the River Anker which had flooded a couple of weeks earlier and messed the garden up a bit.

Steve said it was 'like something from a horror movie'. Credit: SWNS
Steve said it was 'like something from a horror movie'. Credit: SWNS
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"We'd waited for the weather to get better so we could clean up. While I was clearing reeds which had been swept into the garden from the river I got a little nick on my finger.

"I didn't even notice it, I get little cuts all the time at work and just cracked on but there must have been all sorts of bacteria from the floods which got into the cut."

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Steve went on: "The next morning I was meant to help my father-in-law do some cementing at his farm but when I looked at my middle finger it had swelled up and was red.

"I felt a bit soft for saying I couldn't help him but went round anyway and played with the kids and on the piano but I could hardly move my finger. I said to Laura 'that starting to look a bit infected'.

"When I got home my knuckles were swollen and the infection had started to spread up my arm."

The next day Steve was taken to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, by his friend and was told to wait in A&E.

Steve, who is dad to three-year-old Jacob and seven-year-old Charlie, said: "The doctor said he thought it might be sepsis and cellulitis so put me on a saline drip overnight and gave me paracetamol because my temperature was very high.

Steve was gardening with his wife Laura. Credit: SWNS
Steve was gardening with his wife Laura. Credit: SWNS

"The next day I was transferred to hand specialists at the QE in Birmingham where a surgeon told me again he thought it was sepsis.

"I was taken down to surgery and was operated on for four-and-a-half hours. When I came round doctors told me that they discovered it was actually necrotising fasciitis which is quite rare.

"The blood vessels under my knuckles were mush so the surgeons had to wash all of the infection away and pull down skin from my forearm onto the tendons before taking a skin graft from my leg onto my arm.

"I was very lucky and could easily have died. The surgeons saved my life and my arm.

"I'm back home but I've been told it'll take 10 to 12 months before I can hold tools again. I've got two percent use of my hand at the moment.

"It was a tiny cut I had on my hand, but it was enough to let the bacteria in which almost killed me."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: uk news, News, UK

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Rebecca Shepherd

I'm Becky - a journalist at LADbible. I graduated with a First Class BA in Journalism before going on to cover criminal court cases, medical tribunals and breaking news for the national media - which inevitably and eventually became as glum as it sounds. Can often be found rocking a bag for life - which I made a 'thing' way before Rihanna. You can contact me at [email protected]