A father, who dismissed his cold-like symptoms as flu, has lost his arm after being infected with a life-threatening flesh-eating bug.
Luke Dobson, 42, from Undy, near Chepstow, South Wales, initially just had pain in his elbow but was rushed to hospital when his condition took a turn for the worse.
After being diagnosed with sepsis, doctors realised the IT engineer’s symptoms were far more serious as he battled a deadly bacterial infection, known as necrotising fasciitis, which permanently damages tissue.
Dr Dobson, who is one of two sufferers of the infection his doctor has seen in 30 years, spent three days on life support and is awaiting further surgery. It is unclear how he became infected.
His wife Julie Dobson, 42, is speaking out to raise awareness of the condition.
She said: ‘What Luke wanted to do was go back to bed but it was serious. It’s about knowing what the signs of sepsis are and when someone seems more and more unwell, that is the instance to act on it.’
Luke Dobson (pictured with his wife Julie Dobson) initially dismissed his cold-like symptoms as flu, but has since lost his arm after being infected with a life-threatening flesh-eating bug
He initially had pain in his elbow but was rushed to hospital when it took a turn for the worse
After being diagnosed with sepsis, doctors realised his symptoms were far more seriously as he battled a deadly bacterial infection (pictured with Ms Dobson and his daughter Claudia, 14)
WHAT IS NECROTISING FASCIITIS?
Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue.
This can lead to amputations or death in a very short period of time.
It can be prevented by keeping wounds clean.
Necrotising fasciitis is rare in healthy people who practise good personal hygiene.
Those with diabetes, cancer and kidney disease are more at risk.
Early symptoms include muscle pain and swelled skin, followed by fever, fatigue and vomiting.
Treatment usually involves IV antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected tissue.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
‘Something that seems really small can become life-threatening’
Doctors first realised Mr Dobson’s symptoms were serious when his arm continued to swell.
Ms Dobson said: ‘There was a fantastic doctor who just said: “this isn’t right, he’s too ill for sepsis and there is something else going on”.
‘It was such a shock that this can happen and happen so fast. Something that seems really small can become something life-threatening.’
Mr Dobson, who is in intensive care at the Royal Gwent Hospital, has faced multiple surgeries and is due to undergo cosmetic surgery on his arm at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital.
Ms Dobson added: ‘He had quite a lot of tissue removed.
‘Fortunately, they didn’t go down to the muscle. He has recovered physically but now it’s about the mental recovery. ‘
‘Luke wanted to go back to bed but it was serious’
Ms Dobson, who is running the Severn Bridge 10k for the UK Sepsis Trust, wishes to warn others about the dangers of the condition.
She said: ‘What Luke wanted to do was go back to bed but it was serious.
‘It’s about knowing what the signs of sepsis are and when someone seems more and more unwell, that is the instance to act on it.’
WHAT ARE THE EARLY SYMPTOMS OF SEPSIS?
In children under five:
In adults and older children:
Source: NHS Choices