Kathy Chutter lives in Dover and had to spend her 63rd birthday in a Plant City hospital.
“It was very difficult on Monday. We almost lost her Monday- that quick,” said her daughter Rachel Caraway, via FOX 13.
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Chutter was infected with a flesh-eating bacteria Friday in Cockroach Bay.
“It’s very serious, extreme pain. She was in excruciating pain,” she said.
“She reached out to undo the boat that was tied to the mangrove trees. A barnacle cut her on the arm- just a tiny place,” her daughter explained.
Although she cleaned the cut, she experienced frightening symptoms.
“It just immediately started killing the flesh,” she said. “And by Monday morning, she pretty much couldn’t talk. The arm had swelled worse, and she had all symptoms- the diarrhea, the vomiting, the fever,” she said.
There have been 11 infections statewide this year, with at least three deaths. It’s just something Floridians have to deal with, even though infections are rare.
“With cuts or injuries, certain organisms live in the salt water and so you have to be aware,” said Dr. Doug Bolt with the Hillsborough County Health Department. “Make sure those cuts are covered or cleaned afterwards.”
“She hates that it happened…but her spirits ok,” Caraway said.
Chutter did eventually have surgery to remove the infected skin stretching from her knuckles to her elbow. But of course it’s not how she planned to spend her birthday. But her family is very greatful things worked out for the better.
“It is definitely God that got her through. She should’ve been dead,” her daughter said.