A Florida man said he has a "new appreciation of life" after he nearly died when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria through blisters while hiking in New Hampshire.
Wayne Atkins, 32, told WSVN on Thursday he went hiking on June 4 in New Hampshire during a family wedding celebration.
"I get blisters all the time, so I didn’t think anything of it," Atkins told the news station.
He kept hiking and felt fine afterward despite the blisters. But he started feeling sick when he returned to Miami, according to WSVN. He went to the hospital, where doctors discovered the flesh-eating bacteria devouring his internal organs.
"Pretty much every organ in his body was not functioning," Dr. Jonathan Auerbach told WSVN. "So the bacteria tracks up the body, digesting the body as it goes."
Auerbach added that the infection could be deadly if it isn't treated properly. Doctors believe the bacteria entered Atkins' body through the blisters.
Atkins was in a coma as doctors worked to stop the flesh-eating bacteria from causing more damage. Antibiotics and surgery successfully removed it in Atkins.
"I definitely have a new appreciation of life after going through this experience, 'cause it's scary to know that I was so close to death," Atkins said.
"I don’t think I’ll ever want to play the Lotto again, if that’s what hitting the jackpot feels like," he added.