A 68-year-old man from Florida was discharged from the hospital earlier this month after contracting flesh-eating bacteria on his buttocks.
Shortly after returning home from a May trip with his wife to the Florida Panhandle where he swam in warm water, Mike O’Grady noticed what appeared to be a boil on his backside.
“It got worse as every day went by,” he told WFLA, adding that he initially did not want to go to the doctor.
But over the next three weeks his condition grew more severe, and eventually he decided to go to the hospital.
“It was very, very intense,” O’Grady shared. “I mean, my buttocks were swollen up.”
He spent two weeks at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness.
“As many of you may know Mike has been in the hospital battling terrible infections since last Wednesday night June 27th,” his wife wrote in an emotional Facebook post earlier this month, adding that his health was “improving” after undergoing six surgeries.
“He will remain in the hospital until they are confident the infection is gone,” she added, asking friends and family members to pray for her husband.
Detailing his time in the hospital, O’Grady told ABC Action News that the six surgeries were performed on consecutive days “to make sure they got everything out.”
He continued: “They took my digestive system out and inspected it to make sure there was nothing necrotizing on it and then put it all back in.”
Shortly before going on the trip, he said, he got shots in his lower back and buttocks for pain management
“[The bacteria] got in, possibly, most likely through this slight little tiny injection site where the steroids were put in. The bacteria got in through those pinhole-type injections,” he explained.
O’Grady was finally able to go home on July 11.
While O’Grady was lucky to survive his brush with flesh-eating bacteria, he knows his story could have ended differently.
“I am very grateful to be alive,” he told ABC Action News, before urging others to take caution.
“It could happen to anybody,” he explained. “If you are thinking of going swimming and you have a little tiny cut, maybe think twice about going.”
At least nine other people have contracted flesh-eating bacteria this year after spending time in or near the water in places like Florida, Texas and Maryland.
While cases of necrotizing fasciitis increase in the summer because the parasite thrives in warmer waters, the disease is very rare. Chances of contracting it are slim, especially if you’re healthy and have a strong immune system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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