Briton tells how he escaped infection that ‘eats’ body tissue




Scott Neil is now able to live a normal life, but he came close to losing his leg — and his life.

Scott Neil is now able to live a normal life, but he came close to losing his leg — and his life.

Photo: Scott Neil / BBC News Brazil

Britain’s Scott Neil didn’t pay much attention to the scrape on his knee after falling on his way home from work. What he didn’t know is that the injury would almost cost him his life.

“A few days after (the fall) I realized something was wrong,” he tells the BBC. “By the end of that day, my leg had nearly doubled in size it was so swollen.”

The 31-year-old DJ had to undergo six surgeries, over six weeks of hospitalization, because the cut caused a very rare but potentially fatal disease: necrotizing fasciitis.

“(The infection) had basically ‘eaten’ my muscles and my knee,” he says.

The disease, known for releasing toxins with the ability to “eat” human tissue under the skin, develops in cases of wound infection and needs to be treated by doctors immediately, according to the British public health system (NHS, its acronym). in English).



'Worst pain I've ever felt': Scratch left skin infected by an aggressive bacteria whose toxins 'eat' human tissue

‘Worst pain I’ve ever felt’: Scratch left skin infected by an aggressive bacteria whose toxins ‘eat’ human tissue

Photo: Scott Neil / BBC News Brazil

Symptoms, which can appear in a matter of days or even hours, include intense pain (greater than the pain you would attribute to the wound itself) and loss of sensation around the wound; swelling of the skin, fever, headache and tiredness.

These symptoms can progress to vomiting and diarrhea, mental confusion, and dark blisters on the skin.

Scott says it’s “creepy” that a cut had such serious health implications.

Doctors who treated him said he was within hours of losing his leg—and perhaps his life. That’s because the infection can quickly contaminate the blood, causing sepsis and organ failure.

Therefore, experts explain that an early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death.



Scott underwent six leg surgeries and tissue removal from other parts of his body to mend his knee.

Scott underwent six leg surgeries and tissue removal from other parts of his body to mend his knee.

Photo: Scott Neil / BBC News Brazil

‘Agony’

Scott remembers the “agony” and “crying in pain, begging to be taken to the hospital” just days after his fall in May of last year.

He even passed out in the hospital, such was the pain he felt.

“I couldn’t believe what had happened,” says the DJ. “It was the strongest pain I’ve ever felt.”

He needed an operation to remove the necrotic tissue and repair the injuries.

First, doctors used Scott’s back muscles to replace dead tissue in his leg, but there wasn’t enough blood flow to keep that replacement tissue alive.

It was then necessary to use part of his calf to restore his knee.

“It was very difficult, I cried a lot when looking at my body and finding it completely different”, recalls Scott.

How does such an aggressive infection develop?



Scott says he started looking at life differently after illness

Scott says he started looking at life differently after illness

Photo: Scott Neil / BBC News Brazil

“Scott was very unlucky,” says Dr Marina Morgan, one of the UK’s leading experts on the subject.

“For necrotizing fasciitis to develop, the germ needs to be ready to enter the body and have a way of doing it, like scratching. If the immune system is weak or has never faced this germ before, it won’t have the antibodies. to fight it”, explains the specialist.

Morgan points out that the germ that causes the worst kind of necrotizing fasciitis is the same germ that causes tonsillitis in childhood.

“People can get immune because they’ve had previous contact with the germ in childhood tonsillitis, which isn’t a big problem. So these kids grow up with antibodies and never get sick (with fasciitis). But for other people who have never had this contact, if they have it (in adulthood), it’s a very virulent microorganism that they can’t deal with.”

The main sign, says Morgan, is “a very sharp, agonizing pain, out of proportion” to that of the injury itself.

“This means that the germ has entered the tissue,” he adds.

If the pain does not go away with pain relievers, doctors should assess the possibility of necrotizing fasciitis and treat it with antibiotics. One problem, she says, is that not everyone has adequate knowledge of the disease.

Doreen Cartledge lost her 23-year-old son Lee Spark to necrotizing fasciitis in October 1999 and formed a foundation in her name – the only support group in the UK for people and families affected by such severe infections.

“Little is known about it among the general public, and mortality is high,” she says.

Among survivors like Scott, “many people end up suffering from PTSD, so it’s important to be aware of the signs, as early diagnosis and treatment are so important.”



Physical and psychological suffering was great, says Scott

Physical and psychological suffering was great, says Scott

Photo: Scott Neil / BBC News Brazil

Recovery

In Scott’s case, the physical and psychological suffering was great, according to him. But this made him start to look at life in a different, more optimistic way.

Today, more than a year after hospitalization, and intense sessions of exercise and physical therapy, he can walk normally and “do whatever he wants”.

“I remember such intense nights in the ward (of the hospital), the same ward where I had lost my grandmother, which in itself was traumatic,” he says.

But “I had to be strong mainly for my family. In a way, I’m grateful for the experience because it taught me to deal with trauma, to face it. (Until then), I buried all the traumas I had faced. I’m grateful for this opportunity. To be able to walk my dog, skate, play football”, he adds.

*Reported by Shazia Ali of BBC News

– This text was published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-62369395

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

Check Also

Paraná follows WHO and Ministry of Health and also issues resolution to combat monkeypox

After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of …