On Saturday, June 8, 2019, Tom and I embarked on a journey that would take us to the University of MD Medical Center, Shock Trauma Unit.
From realizing a small round red mark on the front of Tom’s left front ankle at around 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., our lives changed immensely. At first look it appeared that Tom had somehow hit his lower shin on something while fishing that morning. As time passed, after about an hour or so, it was clear that wasn’t the case. After a quick trip to Your Doc’s In on Rte. 50, we then went to Easton Memorial Emergency Room. There it was discovered that Tom had contracted vibrio vulnificus disease, sometimes referred to as “waterman’s disease”. During the short time between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Tom’s lower leg was fully engaged by the disease and as a result shortly after midnight, we were both transported via medivac to Univ. MD. Med. Center, Shock Trauma.
We were met by a team of four infectious disease doctors ready to operate on Tom and five well skilled nurses who all knew exactly their roll in this operation and all went to work. During the hours between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 9th Tom underwent surgery to remove the area of infection of his leg Fortunately, the disease had not infected his muscle or bone and therefore surgery was less invasive than could have been. On Tuesday, June 11th Tom had a further surgery by a soft tissue team in order to address any further cleaning of the affected area. Tom was “asleep” from late Saturday night, June 8th until the evening of Wednesday, June 12th such a blessing as he did not have to experience the pain associated with this virus.
For the next ten days Tom was treated for infection and problems related to vibrio e.g. kidney, liver, and heart issues all temporary and due to this virus. On Saturday, June 22nd Tom was transported to Encompass Rehabilitation Center in Salisbury to undergo physical and occupational therapies and was there until Monday, July 8th when I brought him home.
Wednesday July 10th a visit back to Univ. MD Med. Center Shock Trauma clinic, Tom had a dressing change that just turned everything around for us. He had had a port with an evacuation pump to help keep his wound clean, that was removed. Also, skin graft was scheduled for Friday, July 26th where skin from Tom’s thigh was taken to cover the wound. All professionals are amazed by Tom’s recovery. There were several check ups at the Shock Trauma following skin graft procedure.
Wednesday September 3rd turned out to be our last visit to Univ. MD Med. Center Shock Trauma clinic. Tom has been given permission to resume his life as usual with the understanding that his wounds will be covered while working outside and no sun exposure.
The residual effect on Tom’s left eye, having developed an infection and a cataract, continue to be treated with a cataract operation planned in the future.
This account of our experience is sent to encourage anyone who experiences redness or rash following contact with brackish water to be sure to seek professional attention.
Tom And Marie Davis