Imagine surviving a potentially deadly shark attack only to have your life threatened by some microscopic bacteria? Just when you thought you had escaped the Grim Reaper, a flesh-eating bacteria is even more dangerous than the brutal shark bite. This is the traumatic story for one Texas man.
Blaine Shelton, a 42-year-old construction worker, was swimming in the waters off of Crystal Beach, Texas on Boliver Island near Galveston on the morning of August 9. Suddenly, a 7-foot bull shark chomped on his lower thigh just above his knee.
“I already saw the fin, and I knew it wasn’t a porpoise,” Shelton told KHOU11. “So, I turn around to get out of there, and that’s when he grabbed me by the leg. And I guess the only way to explain it would be like sandpaper, is what it felt like; just grabbed on, like gritty.”
Shelton was swimming about 200 yards off the beach in the Gulf of Mexico when the painful shark attack occurred. A friend helped Blaine get back to shore and they flagged down a Galveston County Sheriff’s deputy who was patrolling in the vicinity.
The gruesome shark bite was bad enough to send Shelton to the hospital. The doctors and nurses at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston treated Shelton and released him after four days. But just when Blaine thought the worse was over, things took a dark turn. Shelton had severe pain in his leg that was bitten and he returned to the hospital. At that point Blaine could barely walk.
The nasty shark bite wound developed a flesh-eating bacteria infection and made everything much worse. Bacteria was in the seawater got inside Blaine’s open cut when he was trying to get back to shore. The flesh-eating bacteria was rotting away the tissue around his wound.
Doctors believe Blaine was infected by Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that lives in warm, coastal seawater. “V. Vulnificus is often called flesh-eating bacteria because when it infects a wound, it causes the skin and surrounding tissue to gruesomely break down and die, a condition called necrotizing fasciitis,” Live Science reported. “If not treated immediately, the infection can be fatal.”
Thankfully, Shelton is expected to recover, but he now has medical bills totaling over $100,000. He is worried that he won’t be able to get back to work any time soon and thus won’t be able to pay his bills or support his parents. Shelton started a GoFundMe where he is attempting to raise $30,000. You can make donations and see the vicious shark bite on the crowdfunding site.
Blaine warns everyone that if you have any open cuts on your body that you shouldn’t go in the water.
“But to tell you the truth, if you’ve got a scratch on your arm or your leg, I wouldn’t get in that water. And if you do, bring some alcohol with you to clean it the second you get out. It’s nothing to play with.”
Bull sharks average between 200 and 290 pounds and are 7.5 to 8 feet long and can live in saltwater or freshwater.
Why not get some advice on how to survive a shark attack from Clint Emerson, a former Navy SEAL Team Six operator, who spent 20 years conducting special ops all over the world.