8 Other People Who Have Suffered Flesh-Eating Bacteria Illnesses

Aimee Copeland has been the most publicized case in a string of necrotizing fasciitis outbreaks, but by no means is she the only one to undergo the horrifying infection. In her wake, several other victims have come forth with the illness, often dubbed flesh-eating bacteria. According to Medscape Today, necrotizing fasciitis has a 73% mortality rate. The condition infects the fascia, which is the layer of tissue beneath the skin, and quickly sets forth to deteriorate the skin and muscle. It must be caught quickly to stop the spread, and often results in multiple surgeries and amputations. The CDC’s Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases states that this frightening disease only infects 600 Americans per year. Yet, there have been a curious amount of people coming down with the infection just in the past month.

  1. Bobby Vaughn

    Bobby Vaughn of Cartersville, Georgia is a 32-year-old landscaper. When he was trimming weeds, he got a very small cut near his groin area, which he believes provided an access point for necrotizing fasciitis. He first noticed symptoms of the disease while working, when he suddenly felt unwell and began to vomit. After his hospitalization on May 4, the mysterious bacteria spread on his inner leg from the “size of a little peanut to a grapefruit” rapidly. He has received six surgeries thus far in an effort to rid himself of the bacteria, extracting two pounds of tissue. However, he hasn’t lost any limbs yet. While doctors are quick to point out that the two cases are not interrelated, he was at one point treated next door to Aimee Copeland herself.

  2. Lana Kuykendall

    Only 13 hours after giving birth to baby twins, Lana Kuykendall returned to the hospital to treat the flesh-eating bacteria she mysteriously developed. The new mother from Greenville, South Carolina noticed a pain in her leg and was quickly diagnosed with the infection. It has taken 20 surgical procedures to get her back on the road to recovery, and she will be needing skin grafts in the near future for the infected areas in her leg. Luckily, she hasn’t had to receive any amputations. Although she is still in ICU and has only moved from “critical” to “fair” condition, last week she was able to hold her twins, Abigail and Ian, after a month of hospitalization without them. She is also able to communicate by blinking, mouthing words, and pointing.

  3. Louise Thompson

    About two months ago, Louise Thompson began experiencing leg pains in the form of needle pricking sensations on her skin. As it turned out, that was the first symptom of necrotizing fasciitis, which quickly overtook her leg. Louise Thompson is a grandmother living in Greenville, South Carolina, and has no idea how she contracted the disease. After a surgical procedure in which the doctors cut a substantial chunk out of her leg, she was in a coma for five days. She is now able to stand again, although she admits, “I just really thought that I wasn’t going to live.”

  4. Robert Moody

    Robert Moody of Augusta, Georgia was arguing with his son Rocky on Memorial Day when things quickly escalated. The altercation resulted in Moody shooting his son with a 30-30 rifle in the chest. His son died, leaving Moody charged with murder. Yet, his life may be on the line regardless given that he has developed flesh-eating bacteria. Moody likely developed the disease when his son bit him in an effort to escape his father’s grasp. The open wounds gave the bacteria easy access. Additionally, Moody suffered a heart attack shortly after entering the hospital for his disease. He is currently undergoing his third surgery to fight off the spread of the bacteria.

  5. Lionel Coates and Julia Hanna

    Two patients in Los Angeles, California were recently profiled for overcoming necrotizing fasciitis at the end of May. Lionel Coates spent three weeks in the intensive care unit because of the disease and had 35% of his skin removed from his body to stop the bacteria in its tracks and close various wounds. Coates went through sepsis and nearly died, but was able to recover due to the excellent care at the facility where his treatment was conducted. Likewise, Julia Hanna injured her knee, leg, and right foot in karate and contracted the flesh-eating bacteria shortly thereafter. It took three surgeries before she recovered and was discharged.

  6. Paul Bales

    Paul Bales of Milledgeville, Georgia was swimming in Lake Sinclair when he received a small cut. Unfazed by it, he bandaged the wound and went about with his business over the next couple of days, even venturing to play golf. However, within four days, an infection developed which caused his leg to swell up and imparted severe pain. He was soon transferred to the Medical Center of Central Georgia for advanced treatment of necrotizing fasciitis. As the fourth victim in Georgia alone, Bales’ condition has invoked fear in his neighbors, who refuse to swim in Georgia’s natural waters.

  7. Tony Morgan

    Tony Morgan’s case of flesh-eating bacteria is one of the most frightening. Morgan was merely bathing in his own shower in Josephine County, Oregon when he scratched an itch on his leg. Shortly thereafter, Morgan came down with a fever, swelling, and redness in his thigh and was admitted to Three Rivers Hospital. From there, doctors did a cat scan and gave Morgan the bad news. He had necrotizing fasciitis. A hefty chunk of Morgan’s leg had to be cut out to stop the bacteria from festering further, but he did survive the illness and is on his way to recovery. Morgan’s case shows that it isn’t necessary to be in an environment that is generally thought of as dirty to contract the bacteria. In fact, it doesn’t need an open wound to be transmitted from person to person.

  8. Enrique Milla

    Enrique Milla received a penile implant in 2007 after having a rough time with erectile dysfunction. That surgery led to a great deal of misery and unnecessary pain, as the man’s botched surgery caused him to contract necrotizing fasciitis, resulting in the loss of his entire penis. He is now suing the doctor who conducted the surgery. Milla’s lawyer argues that the anesthesiologist failed to consult Milla regarding his pre-existing medical conditions at the time, including a severe case of diabetes and high blood pressure that may have compromised the surgery. The doctor didn’t take Milla’s blood pressure or blood sugar, and insists that the anesthesia is the only element of the surgery that could present complications. The flesh-eating bacteria consumed Milla’s manhood, so he can no longer be intimate or urinate standing.