After flesh-eating bacteria started killing his tissue, a Florida man had to have a quarter of the skin removed from his entire body in order to keep him alive.
David Ireland, 50 started feeling ill, as though he might have the flu last week and went to a local ER in Orlando, Florida.
In a flash he was whisked from the ER to an operating room. Doctors had quickly recognized that he had necrotizing fasciitis.
Ireland has undergone at least three surgeries, including one to strip of 25 percent of his skin, was placed in a medically-induced coma on Friday, is now in kidney failure and will require at least one more surgery to give him a temporary colostomy.
His condition remains dire, but Ireland’s family is hopeful that Ireland will survive the gruesome, unpredictable ordeal.
David Ireland (left) has had to have 25% of his skin stripped off after contracting a flesh-eating bacterial infection. Pictured with his wife, Jody and daughters Rebekah and Ruth
It’s not clear where Ireland might have picked up the infection, but similar ones are on the rise, particularly in Florida, where Ireland lives.
Flesh-eating infections can be caused by many bacteria, although the phrase most commonly refers to Streptococcus bacteria.
These naturally live in warm coastal waters, like those surrounding Florida, and mostly coexist peacefully with humans and other animals.
However, as temperatures rise, more waters become optimal for the bacteria to multiply and thrive.
The more bacteria there are, the more easily they can overwhelm the immune system, especially of someone with a compromised immune system or who is very young or very old.
Since Friday, Ireland (pictured) has been in a medically-induced coma
Infections become ‘flesh-eating’ – a loose term for the ability of these bacteria to kill tissue – when they get into the bloodstream through an open wound or cut.
And they may be on the rise as temperatures are, especially in places like Florida that are already hospitable to Strep and other potentially flesh-eating bacteria.
It isn’t clear how Ireland picked up his infection. His condition deteriorated so quickly that his family didn’t have a chance to learn much about what had happened to him.
Even as Ireland faces more operations, his wife, Jody, brother, Daniel, and daughters, Ruth and Rebecca, remain positive.
‘His blood pressure and acid numbers from his liver are starting to level off, showing a hopeful sign of recovery,’ wrote Daniel an a Go Fund Me page he set up to benefit the Ireland and his family.
Monday, Jody wrote that she’d learned David would have to get a reversible colostomy, rerouting his bowels out of his body to keep fecal matter from contaminating his open wounds.
‘I miss my best friend’: Ireland’s wife, Jody (right) said his situation is still dire, but that he has shown signs of improvement that make her hopeful he’ll recover from the infection
While they operate, surgeons will check for any leftover vestiges of the infection.
If they find them, they’ll have to strip even more skin from Ireland’s body.
He’s hardly out of the woods, but Sunday brought signs of improvement.
‘David is still in a life threatening situation but there are some small victories every day,’ wrote Jody.
‘I miss my best friend very much and pray every day that God will spare his life and bring him back home to me and our children.
‘My life isn’t the same without him so really praying for a miracle.’