Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Pinellas County man

Fisherman Mike Walton is home from the hospital, nursing a nasty wound after almost losing his life to a flesh-eating bacteria.

It started with a minor accident a couple of weeks ago, when he was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, near Ozona, Florida.

"I had hooked my hand in the afternoon not thinking anything of it," Walton said. "It was amazing how fast it was spreading."

Small blisters on his hands later turned black. After a couple of days, he knew the antibiotics a doctor gave him weren't working, so he drove himself to the emergency room in the middle of the night.

"They admitted me right off the spot and got me into surgery an hour or half or so," he said.

Walton says doctors told him he had a very rare flesh-eating bacteria. Right now, they are working to determine what strain.

"When I woke up and [saw] my hand still attached, I was happy," he said.

However, this was much more serious than just his hand, or arm.

"They said in a few hours this would have gone up my arm into my chest and I wouldn't have been here. There was no saving me," Walton said.

He's now back home after three surgeries and a week in the hospital.

Walton is a construction worker, now out of work. That's where his fishing buddies at the Ozona Fish Camp come in.

Eric Mclendon says they are raising money online and holding tournaments to benefit their friend.

"Everybody has been contributing, everybody has been pitching in, everybody has been wanting to help him. I mean, he helps everyone! That's just the kind of person he is," Mclendon told FOX 13 Monday.

Mike says he's lucky to have such great friends and even luckier to be alive.

"I'm just glad to be here," Walton said. "I can't wait to go back fishing not going to lie about that!"