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Flesh-eating bacteria possibly traveled through man's needle puncture, nearly killing him

Posted at 10:06 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 12:22:00-04

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. -- A Citrus County man, who is among the latest to contract flesh-eating bacteria, says he is grateful to be alive.

Mike O'Grady tells us he contracted a potentially deadly infection, necrotizing fasciitis, commonly named the flesh-eating bacteria.

ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska talked to O' Grady from his Citrus County home. After spending nearly two weeks in the hospital, O'Grady was able to return home on July 11.

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O'Grady and his wife Kelli vacationed in the Panhandle in late May. Before the trip, O'Grady said he got shots for pain in his lower back and buttocks.

"It got in, possibly, most likely through this slight little tiny injection site where the steroids were put in. The bacteria got in through those pinhole type injections," O'Grady said.

After returning home, O'Grady said he felt a little discomfort. However, weeks later he knew something was wrong.

"When it got to be like the size of a lemon inside one of my butt cheeks, it was a sign something wasn't right," O'Grady said. "I could feel this like an abscess type thing forming on my bottom, really inflamed, hot, and very swollen."

If O'Grady didn't decide to go to Citrus Memorial Hospital when he did, doctors don't think he would've survived.

"They operated six days straight. Six consecutive days, had surgeries to make sure they got everything out. It spread to my pelvis," O' Grady said. "They cut me from here to here, and they took my digestive system out and inspected it to make sure there was nothing necrotizing on it and then put it all back in."

O'Grady, 68, said he doesn't have an autoimmune disease and never thought his body wouldn't be able to fight off the infection. Now, he wants to raise awareness for anyone swimming with an open wound or recently were vaccinated or got a shot.

"It could happen to anybody, it's made me aware of my mortality, that life is precious you don't know you are just going to go swimming and maybe not gonna make it something could happen we don't know," O'Grady said. "If you are thinking of going swimming and you have a little tiny cut maybe think twice about going."

O'Grady has months of healing ahead. He plans to get better and enjoy spending more time with Kelli, his wife of 25 years, and his two grandchildren.

"I am very grateful to be alive. I can't tell you more how grateful I am," O'Grady said.

As of now, it is unclear what type of bacteria caused the infection.