MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An Orlando man had to have 25 percent of his skin removed to stop the spread of potentially deadly flesh-eating infections.
David Ireland has been in a hospital for more than a week as doctors try to get the bacteria to stop spreading. His mother, Lois Ireland, said a hospital room is the last place she expected her son to be after he told her he wasn’t feeling well.
“He thought he had the flu, in fact, he did one of those dial-a-doctor and he was told he had the flu,” she said.
The Universal Studios ride attendant would soon be catapulted into a battle for his life and limb.
“Then his leg started to hurt, first in the knee and then up in the hip. It traveled extremely fast,” said Ireland.
The pain intensifying but the cause still a mystery.
“When he was telling me these symptoms I said David you do not have the flu,” she said.
Still, an infection never entered his mind.
“That’s what happened, he had a little cut, doesn’t know how he got it and then the next thing you know its strep A,” said Ireland.
It turns out the skin on his leg was dying from a bacteria called A Streptococcus which is the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis.
In Ireland’s case, it entered his bloodstream and started attacking his muscles.
“It just takes a break in the skin, you don’t have to fall over and tear up your whole leg and say ‘uh oh, now I got that’,” said Ireland.
After the diagnosis and rapid antibiotic treatment, the 50-year-old underwent surgery to stop the spread of infection.
“Right now it has no skin on it at all, no fat tissue, its up, half way up his back,” she said.
Ireland says the father of four is also a diabetic and she suspects that put him at a greater risk. He is expected to undergo a second round of surgery on Wednesday.
Ireland said he is not responsive right now but they remain hopeful.