Man contracts flesh-eating bacteria after fall into lake - KMSP-TV

Man contracts flesh-eating bacteria after fall into lake

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A small cut on a Milledgeville man's leg led to a life-threatening infection.

Paul Bales, 67, slipped on a boat dock and fell into Lake Sinclair on May 2.

"I stepped on a flat rock and slipped. I got up and had a scratch on the back of my leg, it wasn't bleeding, wasn't anything else," said Bales.

Bales, an avid golfer, hit the greens the next day, only to pass out.

"I was on the golf course and my cousin said I started acting very strangely…acting like I was…having a heart attack," he said.

Bales didn't know that he contracted deadly flesh-eating bacteria while in the lake. It's the same flesh-eating condition grad student Aimee Copeland has.

The retired restaurateur woke up two weeks  and three surgeries later in a Macon hospital to learn doctors had amputated just below the knee.

"My sons were told I was going to die," said Bales. "It was very serious."

Bales said that he believes his injury had more to do with how he reacted to his scratch than the water.

"Don't be scared of the water. If you get a scratch, get a cut -- take care of it. Just be careful. That's all I can say. Be careful and take care of yourself," said Bales.

Bales is still in therapy and is waiting to be fitted for his prosthesis, which can't happen until his wounds have healed.

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