Flesh-eating bacteria could take part of man's hand

KATY, TX (KTRK) -- A routine trip to Matagorda Bay leaves a Katy man with a case of flesh-eating bacteria - he may even lose part of his hand, according to his children.

Rex Rand was removing crabs from traps in the bay when he cut his hand.

His daughter, Kari Rand, describes the wound's transformation in just minutes traveling up his arm leaving it swollen and discolored.

"His whole arm from here was three times the size, and you could see just like, red rash and what looked like bruises," Kari said.

She said the doctor diagnosed the infection as vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria often found in bays and beaches. The infections are extremely dangerous and can be deadly.

Health experts warn open wounds and cuts make these infections more likely. However, Rex was reluctant to go to the hospital.

"He's a very tough guy, so he was just going to sleep it off," Kari said. "Basically, I had to force him to go."

Doctors suggest patients with open wounds should avoid the water. If, like Rex, someone gets a cut in the water experts suggest addressing it immediately with soap, antibiotic ointment and a waterproof bandage.

Now, Rex is being treated with powerful antibiotics and waiting to find out if doctors can save his finger.

His family's grateful he didn't lose even more.

"He could have at least lost his arm or his life," Kari said.

Surgeons expect to update the family Friday morning on whether they'll have to amputate Rex's finger.
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