How paper cut turned into a flesh-eating disease
A SOUTHPORT marketing manager is still recovering after he was almost killed - by a paper cut.
Ryan Taylor developed necrotizing fasciitis, an incredibly rare flesh-eating disease, from a tiny paper cut at work on July 25.
The 26-year-old took himself to Gold Coast University Hospital the next day after noticing significant swelling of his hand, but did not know a flesh-eating bug had entered the cut.
"At first they had no idea what they were treating.
"It had spread from my finger to my elbow in 12 hours.
"They rushed me into theatre straight away and told me there was a possibility they would have to amputate my arm if it kept spreading, or there could even be loss of life."
Mr Taylor underwent 10 surgeries over the next three weeks.
Doctors had to cut his forearm open and continually vacuum out the dead flesh the bug was leaving.
Gold Coast Health said only eight local cases of necrotizing fasciitis were recorded in the year to July 2018. Worldwide, up to 40 per cent of people who get it, die.
Gold Coast Medical Association president Dr Sonu Haikerwal said the disease was horrifying even to the most senior medical professionals.
"This is one of those nightmare diseases we hope as doctors we never see in our careers," she said.
"Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare but certainly possible infection that can spread very, very quickly.
"The bacteria enters through a cut or burn. These bacteria usually live on the surface of the skin and with a cut or burn they become aggressive.
"It can be quite dangerous and if there is a delay in surgery there is a high risk of death.
"Good wound care is the message here and simple handwashing."
Mr Taylor is still off work recovering.
He is undergoing intensive physiotherapy three times a week to regain use of his hand.