'It's the reason I don't eat raw oysters anymore': TikTok Doc warns of flesh-eating bacteria dangers [VIDEO]
Consider yourself a seafood fanatic that's always on the hunt for the best seafood restaurants in Florida? Especially fond of oysters? When you find out that you could get a flesh eating bacteria just from eating or coming into contact with them, you might just decide to stick to steaks instead.
In a story time TikTok video, Dr. Terry Simpson shares the reason why he won't eat raw oysters ever again, delving into the time he saw a young amputee nearly lose his life to what an orthopedic surgeon — that had called Simpson for a second opinion — described as severe gangrene of the leg.
A CT scan was ordered to further investigate, and when it came back, what doctors saw were pockets of air under the skin that shouldn't be there. The infection appeared to be eating away at the area beneath the skin, what Dr. Simpson says is a classic sign of flesh eating bacteria.
"I went down immediately and saw the patient, and saw indeed that I could see signs of that — this flesh eating bacteria had not only gone beyond the stump of his below the knee amputation, but was going all the way up to his waist." Dr. Terry recounts.
"I brought him to the operating room where we basically filleted him open from that stump all the way to his waist, cleaned off the bottom of his stump, and started cleaning it out." he continued.
In a race to stop the infection and save his life, every day for a month the patient was brought to the operating room to be repeatedly cut back open to clean out more fascia and dead muscle before isolating him in a hyperbaric chamber — an enclosed space, often cylindrical in shape, with the air pressure raised to a higher than normal pressure.
The increase in pressure helps the lungs collect more oxygen, as well as helps to block actions of harmful bacteria by strengthening the body's immune system. Dr. Terry says they were able to get ahead of the infection by using a concoction of antibiotics, ones used to treat multiple varieties of infectious disease, in combination with the operating procedures and daily hyperbaric chamber isolation.
What bacteria could cause such a severe infection to spread like that? According to Dr. Terry, a rare one called Vibrio Vulnificus.
According to Dr. Simpson, in this case, the infection occurred in the sea of California just south of Arizona. The patient had gone out with his friends and they had simply enjoyed a night of dining on raw oysters together.
"It turns out, that raw oyster ate him." Simpson joked. "...it's the reason I don't eat raw oysters anymore."
Most commonly found in warm ocean waters, the bacteria is most often transmitted by eating things like raw oysters, sushi, or other bi-feds that occur in warm, brackish waters — such as the flood waters you would see following hurricane or storm surges in Florida.
Alongside consumption of raw or undercooked seafood, if it, its juices, or other drippings and contaminated water gets into an open wound, an infection can easily spread — and can even be life-threatening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some infections can also lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a severe infection in which the flesh around an open wound dies off. Many people who get infected with Vibrio Vulnificus will require intensive care and/or limb amputation.
Statistics show that about 1 in 5 people with the infection die, sometimes within just a couple days of becoming ill, the CDC warns. Despite the statistics, Dr. Terry says that being able to save the young man's life was one of the happiest moments he's lived.
"There was nothing ever so more happy in my life than a year later; this young man came into my office...thanking me for saving his life" said Simpson, "I didn't recognize him."
You can watch the full story time video by @drterrysimpson on Tiktok below.
For more stories from the OR and weight loss tips with @drterrysimpson, check him out on TikTok here.
What about you, will you still be rolling in raw oysters on seafood night, or does it sound like it's time for a seafood strike? Let us know in the comments!
Article by Rachael Volpe