Man left fighting for life after being attacked by rare flesh eating bug

GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: Robbie Walsh was told he had a one in four chance of survival after contracting the rare disease called Necrotizing Fasciitis having cut his toe while away on holiday

    Robbie Walsh with his wife Tracey

    A man who was attacked by a flesh eating bug after getting a small cut on his toe has issued a warning to the public.

    Robbie Walsh was told he had a one in four chance of survival after contracting the rare disease called Necrotizing Fasciitis.

    The 36-year-old, from Cork, Ireland, was also warned that in the best case scenario he would lose a leg, Cork Beo reported.

    Thankfully doctors at Mercy Hospital worked tirelessly to overturn the odds and their own diagnosis to save his life and limb.

    Robbie explained how a small cut in his toe quickly turned into a battle for his life.

    "I came home from my holidays on the Friday and didn't' notice the cut at all," he told Neil Prendeville on Cork's Red FM.

    His foot had to be cut open to relieve the pressure

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    "By Saturday the pain was unbearable and I went in to the South Doc and they were under the impression that it was gout.

    "They gave me steroids and an injection for the pain so I came home and it started getting progressively worse.

    "I was up all night with the pain and then on Sunday morning I couldn't breathe and I got sick, my foot was swollen massively as well.

    "I went to the hospital and they took bloods, my foot had gone black at this stage and they had to cut it open to relieve the pressure.

    "Then they started to put me under sedation and I don't really know what happened after that but they took some samples which took 48 hours and while they were doing that they were giving me antibiotics."

    After 48 hours Robbie was told he had contracted the rare flesh eating bug, Necrotizing Fasciitis.

    Doctors told him he had a one in four chance of dying

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    “I was told I had a 25% chance of pulling through," he continued.

    “I was lying on the bed and the doctor came in and said ‘we have to go right now’ and I thought I was getting discharged.

    “He said ‘no we have to go for emergency surgery right now, this is life threatening’.

    “He told me my leg was gone from the hip down and that they were now trying to save my life, not my limb.

    “My wife Tracey had gone home at this point but I met her on the way to surgery and I was told I didn’t even have time to see my daughters.

    “She was told by my doctors to get my affairs in order and we thought that was it.

    “I was in denial, I thought you would read about this and it wouldn’t happen to me.

    Robbie has had to learn to walk again after surgery

    “I didn’t have time to react to it at all, I just didn’t have the time”.

    Fortunately the antibiotics doctors gave Robbie stopped the infection spreading further.

    He said: “After the surgery on the Tuesday they were worried that it would come back because now my leg was exposed.

    “I can’t describe the pain that I was going through, I was on every drug imaginable.

    “I was on a ventilator for five days and being fed through tubes.

    “If I hadn’t gone to the hospital on that Sunday morning I would have been a goner.

    “After seven operations, the doctors decided that the virus was gone from my leg so they did the skin graft.

    “They took some skin from my left thigh and I spent two weeks then hoping it would take.”

    Following the operation Robbie has had to learn how to walk again.


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