A New Jersey man who got infected with flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in early July underwent surgery this week to have his forearms and hands amputated, his family said.
Angel Perez’s operation comes about two weeks after the fisherman opted out of hospice care because he “wants to continue to fight” for his life despite his dire condition, his family told Fox 29. Perez’s forearms and hands were amputated due to the gangrene that had been spreading on his limbs in the last few weeks, the family wrote on its GoFundMe page.
Perez’s daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, told the news station that the operation went well. Doctors are looking to move Perez into rehabilitation and potentially have him fitted for prosthetics.
The 60-year-old father was crabbing in the waters off Matts Landing in the Maurice River on July 2, and a day later noticed swelling and growing pain in his right leg. Perez began breaking out in blisters and his limbs began to change color.
Perez was eventually hospitalized, and doctors have been treating him for about a month.
They believe Vibrio bacteria, which is often found in warmer waters where the river meets the sea, is behind the aggressive infection. And it's even more dangerous for Perez, who has a weakened immune system due to Parkinson’s disease.
Last month, Perez had some of his fingers and toes amputated in hopes of stopping the spread of infection. But complications arose, including some that affected his kidney function. Perez has also been placed on dialysis.
Perez-Dilan said her father is in good spirits since the surgery this week. She added that Perez has even been joking with his caretakers.
The family told NJ.com Perez may need more amputations in the future. Doctors are currently monitoring the infections on his legs.