In 2006 I contracted aeromonas hydrophila when something lodged under my toenail in the Chesapeake Bay. My toe was extremely painful, so I went home. At home, I tried to remove what I thought was a piece of driftwood under my toenail. It was too painful to stick anything under my nail, so I went to get help at an emergency clinic. By the time I arrived at the clinic, it was closing (Sunday night) and I didn't want to go to the emergency room (always such a hassle, and I feared they would not take me seriously).
I was in pain all night--my toe was extremely sore, and the next morning it was hot and red. I made an appointment with a podiatrist that day, who gasped when she saw the red streak running up toward my knee. I'm lucky I only lost my toenail. She put me on antibiotics, and that day I became very sick to my stomach. I thought the antibiotics had caused my diarrhea, but it was actually enteritis caused by the bacteria.
Two weeks later, the podiatrist told me two people had died of aeromonas hydrophila from the Chesapeake that summer. I decided to do research on the bacteria, which I was told was specific to the Chesapeake Bay. Yesterday when I saw this story on CNN about the young woman in GA, I nearly fell off my chair when I heard the name of the flesh-eating bacteria, realizing how lucky I had been.
I am now a kayaker, and I avoid going into a lake or the bay if I have any cuts. If I do get a cut around this type of water and it's as painful as my toe was in 2006, I'm heading straight to the ER and will hope they take me seriously. Regardless, you should ALWAYS take an extremely hot, painful wound seriously. It sounds like the hospital screwed up in this GA case.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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