A Florida man nearly had his leg amputated after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria by eating a dozen raw oysters during a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast, WKRG-TV reported.
Lenny Buck was hospitalized while visiting Orange Beach late last month to celebrate his 24th wedding anniversary. He was initially diagnosed with tendinitis before an orthopedic surgeon realized that he had actually been infected with vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria commonly found in warm saltwater.
“He took one look at it and said, ‘You need to get back to the emergency room right now,'” Buck told WKRG.
The bacteria poses greater harm to patients with compromised immune systems, making Buck — a cancer survivor who also has diabetes — more succeptible to infection. Doctors were able to contain the bacteria’s spread before being forced to amputate his leg.
The Weather Channel reported that health officials in Florida have also issued a warning against eating raw oysters or shellfish from the area. Two people have died from the bacteria thus far this year, including a 65-year-old man who also contracted it from eating oysters.
Buck, who remains hospitalized, has already gone through five surgeries and will not be able to walk for at least four months. His sixth surgery is scheduled for Thursday.
“We did walk to the beach one day,” Buck told WKRG. “I did buy one t-shirt, so it wasn’t a total loss.”
Watch WKRG’s story, as aired on Monday, below.
[Image: Vibrio vulnificus, via Wikipedia Commons]