Gulf Coast victim of flesh-eating bacteria: ‘It felt like my finger was in hot coals’

(WKRG)

(WKRG) — Living on the water in Gautier, Mississippi, Kerry Kirks goes fishing often. So, when he pricked his finger on a bait shrimp Friday night, he didn’t think anything of it until hours later when he awoke to excruciating pain and swelling in his hand.

“That kind of thing happens all the time. If you stick your hand in the bait bucket, it’s probably going to get picked,” Kirks said. “It felt like my finger was put in hot coals. The next thing you know, I’m getting admitted to the hospital with a 103-degree fever.”

Kirks’ wife drove him to Singing River Health System in Pascagoula, Mississippi where doctors immediately began treating him for Vibrio Vulnificas; a deadly bacteria that lives in brackish water.

Kirks is lucky because doctors told him if he had waited any longer before going to the hospital, the fast-spreading bacteria could have cost him his life or his limbs. Doctors have been closely monitoring Kirks for the past week to determine whether or not they’ll have to amputate his finger.

Doctors have been closely monitoring Kirks every day for the past week to determine whether or not they’ll have to amputate his finger.

Kirks said he never imagined something like this would happen to him and says when he goes fishing again, he’s going to slip gloves on his hands when he baits his hook.

“I should have worn gloves when baiting my hooks. Next time I will, but this hasn’t stopped me from fishing,” Kirks said.

He hopes those who hear his story will be careful when out on the water this summer.

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