Man loses leg to flesh eating bacteria

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 5:24pm

An Indiana man is recovering at home after losing his leg to a flesh eating bacteria. It's the same kind of bacteria that made national news in Georgia and South Carolina. His family says they want people in Indiana to know it's here too.

Tad Hawley lost his leg to a flesh eating bacteria around Easter.

"It happened so fast. At first I wasn't in pain. Then, in just a few minutes it was in a lot of pain. That's when I guess the infection took over," said Hawley.

But he doesn`t remember too much about what happened after that.

He became sick Sunday afternoon, the following afternoon we were saying our goodbyes," said Melissa Croucher, Hawley's daughter.

It took only 32 hours for the bacteria to take over his body. Croucher remembers every detail of three separate hospital stays and multiple surgeries.

"The physician came in and said Mr. Hawley, you have a very serious condition. You have flesh eating bacteria that is ravaging your body. I'm not sure you're going to live," said Croucher.

Croucher was there with her dad in the hospital. She said his leg looked like something out of a science fiction movie.

"There was tremendous amounts of swelling. There was discoloration. It looked like a child came in with a marker and colored all over his leg. He had large blisters. His leg was oozing blood and puss. It was terrifying," said Croucher.

A Georgia student lost her left leg, right foot and both hands to the disease. The family had heard of flesh eating bacteria but they never imagined it would happen to someone they knew.

"We said our goodbyes and then we waited," said Croucher.

The doctor had good news.

"He says he's alive and the entire room erupted in joyous celebration. I got my dad back."

Hawley still can`t figure out how or where he came into contact with the flesh eating bacteria.

"I wasn't going around barefoot or jumping or anything out of the ordinary," said Hawley.

But he is just thankful to be alive and happy he has more time with his grandkids.

"They're the reason that I'm here."

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