“His hat fell off into the water a couple of times, and he picked it up, and you just laugh about it, and he put it back on his head, was that it? Was that the entryway then? I don’t know. Could it have been when he pulled the crab traps out of the water and the breeze, some of the water sprinkled on him then? But to say we floated out in the water, no. We never got in the water.”
During a trip with his wife to Magnolia Beach in Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico, Gary Evans never went for a swim, but a day spent crabbing in the waters was enough to contract a flesh-eating bacteria that killed him only four days later.
The father of six went crabbing with his family on July 4th, and was unable to walk within two days. The 56-year-old was diagnosed by doctors with vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria current in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and progressed into the lethal necrotizing fasciitis.
Evan’s wife, Debbie Mattix, 60, was left asking how he contracted the bacteria that can enter the body through tiny scrapes and cuts.
“His hat fell off into the water a couple of times, and he picked it up, and you just laugh about it, and he put it back on his head, was that it?” Mattix said in an interview with KHOU. “Was that the entryway then? I don’t know. Could it have been when he pulled the crab traps out of the water and the breeze, some of the water sprinkled on him then? But to say we floated out in the water, no. We never got in the water.”
Mattix said that once Evans was infected, the bacteria moved swiftly.
“He was in his element there … around everything he loved most – his friends, his family, his crabbing on the water,” she told the Victoria Advocate. “But on Saturday morning, he couldn’t walk. That is how quick it hit.”
Mattix said that Evan’s feet and legs were extremely swollen and they took him from the hospital, but they didn’t expect it to be anything severe.
“We got there and they let me know he wasn’t going home; he was going straight into ICU,” she said. “Doctors started treating him for Vibrio, but it wasn’t confirmed until the next day; that is when they said it started manifesting itself.”
Evans was given antibiotics by the doctors, but the swelling in his legs on Sunday turned into pus-filled blisters. He went into surgery and Mattix was told by doctors that her husband only had 72 hours left to live.
“They did everything they could do,” she said. “He was very, very sick, and it ended up beating him. It spread into his liver, his kidneys and he was on a respirator. It also got into his blood system and started collapsing his veins.”
She hopes that sharing Gary’s story will serve as a warning to people who have no understanding of the risks.
“This bacteria is a lot worse than people really think it is,” Mattix said. “It is not a bacteria that is easily contained; it comes in with vengeance, and it is relentless, just, like, destroying everything in its path.”