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Moultrie man diagnosed with flesh eating bacteria

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Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-19 17:18:11-04

MOULTRIE, Ga. (WTXL)--Saving his arm or saving his life, that's the decision a Moultrie man had to make.

Michael Hobgood says he somehow picked up the deadly bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis.

23-year old Michael Hobgood says he's adjusting to his life after he was forced to make the decision of amputating his arm from the elbow down or die.

"Losing an arm is a blessing," said Hobgood. "Instead of looking for a prosthetic arm, I could've been buried last week."

Hobgood says June 7 he was shooting guns with friends at a pond near Hartsfield. He says somehow he cut his hand when a gun recoiled.

"I never entered the water," said Hobgood. "I never washed my hands in the water but we were shooting by the pond so I can't say the water didn't splash up on me or on the gun."

He says the next morning he felt sick and his hand swelled. He went to the hospital and was released after being told he may have torn some ligaments. Six hours later his symptoms progressed. He experienced excruciating pain. He says he also had a red line from his arm to his chest. Doctors diagnosed him with necrotizing fasciitis and took immediate action.

"I was lucky to lose one arm and get it stopped before it traveled any further," said Hobgood.

We spoke with emergency physician Dr. Murray Baker at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital who says while it is possible to contract necrotizing fasciitis from places like ponds but it's still considered rare.

"The incidents are about 3.5 patients per 100,000," said Dr. Baker.

While Michael Hobgood has a long road to recovery, he says he's trying to keep a smile on his face because he says he's just thankful to be alive.

Nurses at Colquitt Regional Medical Center, where Hobgood was treated, say it's been some time since they had a case of flesh eating bacteria.