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>>

  • BREAKING

    Twelve to take test to be next Lake Charles Chief of Police

    Twelve to take test to be next Lake Charles Chief of Police

    Friday, July 20 2018 7:40 PM EDT2018-07-20 23:40:23 GMT
    The City of Lake Charles is currently in the hiring process to replace retiring Chief of Police Don Dixon. Dixon is retiring in January 2019. (Source: Spark)The City of Lake Charles is currently in the hiring process to replace retiring Chief of Police Don Dixon. Dixon is retiring in January 2019. (Source: Spark)

    Twelve people have applied to take the Civil Service test to be the next Chief of Police for the Lake Charles Police Department. Current Chief of Police Don Dixon has announced that he intends to retire Jan. 15, 2019. The deadline to apply to take the test was Wednesday, July 18. The dozen people who applied are made up of several former and current LCPD members and law enforcement from agencies in Louisiana and Texas. KPLC's Theresa Schmidt will be interviewing Mayor Ni...

    More >>

    Twelve people have applied to take the Civil Service test to be the next Chief of Police for the Lake Charles Police Department. Current Chief of Police Don Dixon has announced that he intends to retire Jan. 15, 2019. The deadline to apply to take the test was Wednesday, July 18. The dozen people who applied are made up of several former and current LCPD members and law enforcement from agencies in Louisiana and Texas. KPLC's Theresa Schmidt will be interviewing Mayor Ni...

    More >>
  • Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office investigates theft

    Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office investigates theft

    Friday, July 20 2018 7:08 PM EDT2018-07-20 23:08:14 GMT
    (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)(Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)

    Calcasieu parish sheriff's office investigates theft

    More >>

    Calcasieu parish sheriff's office investigates theft

    More >>
  • First Alert Forecast: Hot and Dry weekend

    First Alert Forecast: Hot and Dry weekend

    Friday, July 20 2018 6:26 PM EDT2018-07-20 22:26:58 GMT
    Lots of sunshine and hot temperatures this weekendLots of sunshine and hot temperatures this weekend
    Lots of sunshine and hot temperatures this weekendLots of sunshine and hot temperatures this weekend

    This weekend will be very hot with no rain expected. Instead of needing to dodge showers for any outdoor activities, you will need to "try" to avoid the heat. Saturday will start out with very warm and muggy conditions. Temperatures will cool down to the upper 70s, but may feel more like the lower 80s. With lots of sunshine expected in the morning, temperatures will quickly warm up. Already by lunchtime, it may feel like the triple digits. 

    More >>

    This weekend will be very hot with no rain expected. Instead of needing to dodge showers for any outdoor activities, you will need to "try" to avoid the heat. Saturday will start out with very warm and muggy conditions. Temperatures will cool down to the upper 70s, but may feel more like the lower 80s. With lots of sunshine expected in the morning, temperatures will quickly warm up. Already by lunchtime, it may feel like the triple digits. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly