Aspiring DJ, 40, who suffered a ‘tiny scratch’ while doing household chores has his hand CHOPPED OFF after catching a flesh-eating bug
An aspiring DJ who scratched himself while doing household chores was stunned when doctors told him he had to have his hand amputated.
Phil Barradell, 40, unwittingly swiped his left palm on a nail on April 11 – but didn’t think much of the ‘tiny’ scratch.
He only became concerned when days later he was in agony as his hand swelled, turned dark purple and ‘smelled like something had died’.
Mr Barradell, a full-time chef, went to A&E thinking he’d be sent home – but ended up spending around 10 days in hospital.
Doctors told him he had contracted the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis, and revealed his only option was to cut off his hand and part of his wrist ‘or die’.
Mr Barradell, who lives in Loughborough in Leicestershire, had the life-changing procedure on April 21.
He is now adjusting to life with just one hand following his ‘shocking’ ordeal, after refusing a prosthetic from the NHS because he didn’t like how it looked.
Mr Barradell, who has been unable to work since the operation, is now trying to raise money for a bionic arm which he claims he needs for his jobs.
Phil Barradell, 40, unwittingly swiped his left palm on a nail on April 11 – but didn’t think much of the ‘tiny’ scratch. He ended up needing his left hand and part of his wrist removed (pictured after surgery)
Pictured, the scratch on his palm that ended up costing him his hand and part of his wrist
He only became concerned when days later he was in agony as his hand swelled, turned dark purple and ‘smelled like something had died’ (pictured, his hand after surgery)
Mr Barradell, a full-time chef, went to A&E thinking he’d be sent home – but ended up spending around two weeks in hospital (pictured while DJing)
Mr Barradell said: ‘I didn’t really have time to process it all when I was on painkillers, but I couldn’t believe a small scratch could lead to losing my hand within the week.
‘It’s bizarre, and I still don’t understand it, but it’s crazy to think this could happen to anyone.
‘I thought maybe it was a complication from my type 1 diabetes but it had nothing to do with that – it was just a ridiculously unlucky cut.
‘It looked completely fine when I first scratched myself, but then three days later I was looking at my hand and thought “this doesn’t look right”.
He added: ‘My hand was completely swollen and stiff. It started to smell a bit like something had died, and it turned this scary dark purple colour.
‘I was in the hospital for almost a week and each time a doctor came to visit me, they had an increasingly more serious face.
He refused a prosthetic from the NHS because he didn’t like how they looked, and is now trying to raise money for a bionic arm which he claims he needs to go back to work (pictured before his ordeal)
Mr Barradell said he is ‘not sure’ how he scratched his palm on a nail on the Thursday, adding that it ‘didn’t hurt at all’ (pictured, his left arm after surgery)
‘Finally, they just came in and told me they had to cut it off, or I would die. I could have died from a tiny scratch, it’s just unbelievable.’
Mr Barradell said he is ‘not sure’ how he scratched his palm on a nail on the Thursday, adding that it ‘didn’t hurt at all’.
He added that he had cut himself ‘quite a bit’ while in the kitchen at work, and has suffered ‘far worse injuries’.
Mr Barradell decided to visit the Leicester Royal Infirmary on the Sunday, thinking he would be in and out quickly.
He said: ‘I really thought I was going to be okay but as the doctors started coming in and frowning, I knew it couldn’t be good.’
Mr Barradell, who was given painkillers and anaesthetics, was told by doctors that they were going to ‘scrub’ the wound and try to clean it.
After three days and three scrubs, he said he couldn’t feel his arm or hand because of his peripheral neuropathy – another condition he has.
However, he could see liquids gushing out of his palm. ‘I was stupidly worried,’ he said. ‘I was certain liquids aren’t meant to come out of there.’
A ‘serious-looking’ doctor revealed the infection was worse than anticipated and his hand needed to be operated on as soon as possible.
Mr Barradell was told on April 20 surgeons would have to amputate his left hand after an MRI revealed the devastating extent of the infected tissues (pictured, his arm after surgery)
Mr Barradell also lost 10 per cent of his left arm – but said: ‘Considering that death was on the table, this didn’t seem too bad’ (pictured, his arm after surgery)
NECROTISING FASCIITIS: THE VICIOUS FLESH-EATING BACTERIA
Necrotising fasciitis, more commonly known as ‘flesh-eating disease’, is a rare but extremely vicious bacterial infection. ‘Necrotising’ refers to something that causes body tissue to die, and the infection can destroy skin, muscles and fat.
The disease develops when the bacteria enters the body, often through a minor cut or scrape. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.
Because it is so virulent, the bacteria spreads rapidly throughout the body.
Symptoms include small, red lumps or bumps on the skin, rapidly-spreading bruising, sweating, chills, fever and nausea. Organ failure and shock are also common complications.
Sufferers must be treated immediately to prevent death, and are usually given powerful antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue. Amputation can become necessary if the disease spreads through an arm or leg.
Patients may undergo skin grafts after the infection has cleared up, to help the healing process or for aesthetic reasons.
There are 500 to 1,500 cases reported a year, but 20 to 25 percent of victims die.
Mr Barradell said: ‘That whole week was a massive blur, it just felt like one long dream. I was on so many painkillers.
‘When they told me what I actually had, it sounded so scary. It eats your flesh from the inside, so it’s not exactly pleasant.’
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin.
It progresses very quickly and can lead to serious problems, such as blood poisoning and organ failure, the NHS says.
Public Health England figures show there are roughly 500 cases of NF each year, with an estimated mortality rate of 25 per cent.
Mr Barradell was told on April 20 surgeons would have to amputate his left hand after an MRI revealed the devastating extent of the infected tissues.
He said: ‘They came in and said if it doesn’t go well during the last scrub, it could get a lot more serious.
‘I thought, how much more serious could it get? Now that I have one less hand than I’m used to, I guess that much more serious.
‘Suddenly it was Easter Sunday and I was in the hospital waiting to lose my hand. It was a surreal feeling.’
Mr Barradell also lost 10 per cent of his left arm – but said: ‘Considering that death was on the table, this didn’t seem too bad.’
Mr Barradell is now raising £10,500 for a prosthetic hand, which would allow him to resume his jobs as a part-time DJ and full-time chef.
He is on three different courses of antibiotics that he needs to take four times a day, but he’s still hopeful he’ll be able to live his life to his fullest potential.
Mr Barradell said: ‘Realistically, I’d like to think that I could have this not affect my life too much.
‘I still want to do all the things I’ve always done and want to do. I’d like to go back into the kitchen in the day and spin my records by night.
‘It’s all still an alien process, as it’s all new to me. I’ve never been through something like this before, and every day feels like a surprise.
‘I’ve had to relearn how to do everything and I never realised how many things I did with both my hands, but thankfully they chopped off my left hand not my right.’
Anyone wanting to donate to Mr Barradell can do so here.