A teenage boy is thankful to have his hand after he nearly lost it to a flesh-eating bacteria infection. The 13-year-old boy from Visalia, California developed a hand infection after he nicked his hand on his football helmet. His mother, Camil Flores, shared an image of her son’s hand on her Facebook page after he had received surgery for the infection, ABC News reported Wednesday.
According to the boy’s mother, the infection started last week on El Diamante High School’s practice field. Initially Flores’ son thought the cut was minor, but within hours he started vomiting and his finger was swollen by the next morning.
“His finger was ten times the size of his other fingers,” Flores told ABC News.
Flores’ son was taken to urgent care followed by the ER. He was later transported to a local hospital, where he was taken into immediate surgery.
“When the surgeon came in, she could not believe how severe his finger was. It was discolored, he couldn’t feel it, the swelling increased and the antibiotics were just now working,” Flores said.
Doctors blamed the infection on necrotizing fasciitis caused by a Step-A infection. The Center for Disease Control describes necrotizing fasciitis as a bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. Although quick and accurate diagnoses and treatment, which requires surgery in most cases, can stop the infection, the bacteria infection can become life-threatening in a short amount of time and can lead to amputation or even death.
“It’s a very uncommon type of infection,” Suzie Skadan, director of health services at the Visalia Unified School District told the news outlet.
Shortly after the boy’s cause of infection was determined, Flores notified the school district and letters were sent home explaining the incident to parents. Football gear for all the high schools in the district were wiped clean as of Monday.
Although the boy’s hand was saved during infection, the damage caused is still considered severe as it was his dominant hand and it is unknown at this time if he’ll ever be able to use it again.