Flesh eating disease strikes home - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Flesh eating disease strikes home

Flesh eating bacteria can strike anywhere, at any time.

Clarene Clark wrecked her car in the summer of 2008. She flipped her car in a ditch after checking a text message on her phone. With only a broken ankle, she never believed that in just days, she'd be fighting for her life.

She looked down just for a split second, and Clarene Clark's car rested upside down in a ditch near Topsy with a broken ankle, she struggled to move.

"I crawled down into this big huge ditch, and then I crawled back up," said Clark. 

That's when doctors say Clark contracted a flesh eating bacteria. It spread quickly up her leg just days after surgery.

"I laid down in the bed and I remember them unwrapping the gauze and taking the stuff out," said Clark. "My leg was just rotten."

It became a life or death situation for Clark. The doctors gave her just hours to live.

"The doctor came in and told me if I wanted to live, they had to go ahead and take my leg," said Clark. 

While doctors managed to save the rest of her leg, the bacteria's damage became widespread.

"It had stopped my kidneys from working," said Clark. "It went to my brain, so that's why I stutter. A lot of my motor skills are still kind of slow from it. And that's all from flesh eating bacteria."

Flesh eating bacteria cases don't' happen often. In fact only 500 to 1000 cases are reported in the country each year. Of that number 25 percent don't survive.

"It's very uncommon," said physician Dr. Phillip Conner. "It does happen periodically and it's usually associated with some trauma where you have a break in the skin and it allows the infection to invade."

Dr. Conner says wound care is your best precaution.

"The first symptoms often times will be redness and swelling to the area as well as pain," said Dr. Conner. "It rapidly progresses from there."

For Clark the ordeal is now a blessing. But even so, she says she didn't even believe things of this nature were real.

"I was amazed," said Clark. "Because I didn't think you could get stuff like that. I thought it was just in the movies. It's not. It's for real."

Tomorrow, Clarene will receive a new prosthetic leg.

Her new limb will move with her more freely, but what she's most excited about is that she'll be able to paint her toenails.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • F.K. White Middle School hopes to grow opportunities with teaching garden

    F.K. White Middle School hopes to grow opportunities with teaching garden

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:30 AM EDT2018-04-22 15:30:47 GMT
    F.K. White Middle School in Lake Charles is hoping to grow new opportunities with their new teaching garden that started with just a seed of an idea. "One of our science teachers Amanda LaBove has this idea with John O'Donnell who works for Healthier Southwest Louisiana," said Jessica Woolmington, an art teacher at the school. "He approached me and then Amanda as well and said, 'Hey, we need to do this. We should've started this yesterday, so let's get on it,' and we d...More >>
    F.K. White Middle School in Lake Charles is hoping to grow new opportunities with their new teaching garden that started with just a seed of an idea. "One of our science teachers Amanda LaBove has this idea with John O'Donnell who works for Healthier Southwest Louisiana," said Jessica Woolmington, an art teacher at the school. "He approached me and then Amanda as well and said, 'Hey, we need to do this. We should've started this yesterday, so let's get on it,' and we d...More >>
  • Race across the lake: sixth annual Dragon Boat Race coming to Lake Charles

    Race across the lake: sixth annual Dragon Boat Race coming to Lake Charles

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:24 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:24:40 GMT
    Dragon Boat Race (Source: KPLC)Dragon Boat Race (Source: KPLC)

    The CHRISTUS St. Patrick Foundation will host their sixth annual Dragon Boat Races at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall. The event benefits Children's Miracle Network.  In this year’s race, up to 30 teams will race across the lake, competing to be the 2018 Dragon Boat Race winning team. Each team consists of 20 members who paddle a 41-foot vessel to the beat of their team drummer. In our 30-minute special report Race Across...

    More >>

    The CHRISTUS St. Patrick Foundation will host their sixth annual Dragon Boat Races at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall. The event benefits Children's Miracle Network.  In this year’s race, up to 30 teams will race across the lake, competing to be the 2018 Dragon Boat Race winning team. Each team consists of 20 members who paddle a 41-foot vessel to the beat of their team drummer. In our 30-minute special report Race Across...

    More >>
  • WATCH LIVE: Former first lady Barbara Bush laid to rest

    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:36 AM EDT2018-04-21 15:36:24 GMT
    (Source: KXXV)(Source: KXXV)
    (Source: KXXV)(Source: KXXV)

    The funeral service of former first lady Barbara Bush is being held at 11 a.m. today in Houston, Texas. Expected guests include former president Bill and Mrs. Bill Clinton, former president Barack and Mrs. Barack Obama and First Lady Melania Trump. Around 1,500 are expected to attend.

    More >>

    The funeral service of former first lady Barbara Bush is being held at 11 a.m. today in Houston, Texas. Expected guests include former president Bill and Mrs. Bill Clinton, former president Barack and Mrs. Barack Obama and First Lady Melania Trump. Around 1,500 are expected to attend.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly