SIESTA KEY, Fla. -- A Florida woman who recently visited Siesta Key tells ABC Action News she believes the deadly bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis caused her infection.
“My leg was real red and swollen, and it started to blister, it felt like it was on fire excruciating pain,” Amy Barnes said.
**WARNING: The photo of her infected leg at the bottom of the story is graphic and may not be suitable for viewers of all ages.**
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On May 31, Barnes drove from her home in Arcadia to enjoy the beach with a friend in town. She said she got a scratch on her leg the day before but says she didn’t think anything of it.
“It was just a little scratch, I never in a million years thought it was going to turn into something that big, oh my gosh,” Barnes said. “Not less, something that was going to cover my whole leg and keep me from walking. I was in a wheelchair too.”
Barnes said her mom drove her to Sarasota Memorial Hospital when the first symptoms appeared. A hospital spokesperson told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska they had not treated anyone for the rare flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis. They could not comment on Barnes’ treatment citing privacy laws.
Barnes’ discharge papers diagnosed her with cellulitis, “a rapidly spreading infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues that can cause shock, organ failure, and death if untreated,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Nobody still has done a biopsy on it, to this day, so they cannot rule it out, that it’s not the flesh-eating bacteria; they cannot say that it is. Because they haven’t done the biopsy that is the only way you can actually tell.”
According to the CDC, necrotizing fasciitis is often misdiagnosed.
They estimate 700-1200 cases each year but said that is likely an underestimate.
Barnes said she isn’t worried about her official diagnosis; she thanks the doctors for saving her life. She wants anyone with a scratch or gets a cut in the water to monitor the wound and seek treatment immediately.
“If you start to feel sick you are not overreacting you are saving your life is what you are doing,” Barnes said.