TAMPA - Dwayne Scranton doesn't remember every moment of his painful ordeal, but then there are the moments he'll never forget.
"I've never seen people look that way at me before," Scranton said.
Scranton first went to the ER on Superbowl Sunday, after what appeared to be a minor cut to his knee was growing and appeared to be infected. He went to the hospital at the urging of his girlfriend after he started to hallucinate.
"The entire leg had tripled in size, black and blue," Scranton said.
Doctors eventually diagnosed the problem: necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly called flesh eating bacteria. The infection had settled deep into Dwayne's lower left leg. The fight to save his leg would keep him in St. Joseph's hospital for 100 days.
The bacteria can infect anyone, entering the body through even the smallest wound. Doctors say it often goes misdiagnosed because initial symptoms can include common ailments like fever or nausea. The key is the skin around cuts or wounds. A rapid change in size or color could indicate the infection.
"Some people's bodies can deal with it and some people's can't, so you just kinda collapse in a lot of different ways," said Dr. Ferdinand Richards.
In Dwayne's case, it took five grueling procedures to cut the infection out. Doctors later used the skin from his right thigh to replace the skin the bacteria destroyed. For now, he's using a walker as he regains the full use of his leg, knowing how close he came to losing it.
"I beat the odds tremendously," Scranton said.