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Debbie King

When 72 year old Debbie King scraped her leg during a boat day on the Gulf, she didn't realize she was also contracting Vibrio Vulnificus.

January 04, 2024
Debbie King smiling after recovery.

72 year old Debbie King was enjoying a day out on the Gulf of Mexico with friends when she scraped her leg getting onto the boat. The next day, she noticed it looked like there was a sunburn on her shin: “It was red and sunburned; by the third day it had blisters and by day four it was swollen and oozing.”

What Debbie didn’t know was that she had contracted Vibrio Vulnificus, the rare but deadly flesh eating bacteria that occurs in warm, brackish seawater. Vibrio is so rare that only 34 cases were reported in the state of florida in 2021, resulting in 10 deaths.

Debbie sought treatment at the HCA Florida Citrus Hospital ER where the team quickly jumped into action. Dr. Carmain from HCA Florida Citrus Surgical Specialists came to see Debbie, took one look at her leg and brought her straight to the OR. According to Debbie, Dr. Carmain’s quick action saved her life. During surgery, Dr. Carmain came out into the waiting room to let her husband know that if he didn’t amputate her leg she would die. He checked back in with the husband a little later on and said he would need to amputate further (above the knee) to ensure he caught the infection.

After surgery, Debbie spent weeks in the ICU recovering, before she was discharged to a rehab facility. She is now back at home, working toward her goal of walking again with a new prosthetic.

Debbie says,” God sent me back to get the word out about this amazing team and the incredible work they do. This hospital is my favorite. The nurses were outstanding and I wouldn’t go anywhere else. I love everyone including my nurses and Dr. Carmain. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t say enough.”

January 04, 2024
HCA Florida Citrus Hospital