A 71-year-old man had to have his hand amputated when his flesh started rotting after he ate sushi. Just 12 hours after the unnamed man from South Korea enjoyed his sushi dinner, black blisters and bruises started forming on his left hand and arm. In no time, it swelled up like a golf ball and became excruciatingly painful.
He had been infected with a deadly flesh-eating bacteria after indulging in the raw seafood. The infection was so bad that he had to have his hand and forearm amputated 25 days later.
The man visited doctors in Jeonju, South Korea, when he could no longer stand the excruciating pain in his hand and a relentless fever for two days.
His story, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, took a turn when a blister on the palm of his hand grew to 3.5cm by 4.5cm – approximately the size of a golf ball.
The black blisters also spread across the back of his hand and forearm. Doctors diagnosed him with an infection called vibriosis caused by the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.
The 71-year-old already had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and end stage kidney disease for which he was having dialysis.
Doctors operated on his hand, drained the blisters and gave him two types of intravenous antibiotics but the man’s condition only got worse.
The ulcers on his hand had caused necrosis- the death of living tissue which can spread and cause irreparable injuries, so doctors decided to amputate his left hand and forearm to stop the rotting tissue from spreading any further.
They said the patient ‘did well after the surgery’ and was later discharged to go home.
Vibriosis is thought to affect around 80,000 Americans each year – one case per every 4,000 people. Most people become infected by eating raw contaminated seafood, like oysters or shellfish, or by exposing an existing wound to seawater containing the bacteria.
Most healthy people can recover from being exposed to the bacteria within a few days with no serious complications but people with a weakened immune system are at a greater risk of infection and complications.