Health

Wednesday 3 September 2014

I lost my arm to flesh-eating virus, warns father of three

Niall Merriman before his illness

A DUBLINER who lost his arm and shoulder to a deadly flesh-eating virus said he is lucky to be alive.

Father-of-three Niall Merriman from Lucan, Co Dublin, said the disease advanced so rapidly surgeons, who removed his right arm, had to resume operating within hours.

They removed muscles from his shoulder, chest and back, as the disease moved quickly through his body.

Now a fundraising drive is underway to purchase a modified automatic car which will allow the 34-year-old family man to drive with one arm.

“Doctors told me I had a very rare form of the disease which has a 95pc mortality rate. I’m so lucky to be alive and so grateful to all the doctors,” he told

SEVERE

Niall, an avid Leinster rugby fan, felt a severe pain in his arm on December 20 last. He underwent x-rays at the Hermitage Centre medical clinic in Lucan but was later sent home.

His pain intensified and he was brought back to the medical centre the following day and blacked out.

He was taken to Blanchardstown Hospital where he was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fascitis which was rapidly eating its way through the muscles in his arm.

He was rushed into theatre. He ended up undergoing surgery 15 times.

“They told me that my big size and large muscles in my arms are the reason I stayed alive long enough for the surgery to take place. If I was a smaller man, I’d be dead now. I’m truly blessed,” he said.

Niall was allowed home from hospital in March and hopes to return to work as a computer software engineer next month.

“Luckily, I had always been able to write with both hands so I am beginning to manage okay,” he said.

Supporters of Niall and his family are seeking donations to help in buying a specially adapted car.

A family fun day will take place at the Lucan Centre, Primrose Lane, from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday, June 1, which opens with a performance by the Lucan Gospel Choir.

Donations can be made at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/pimp-nialls-ride-an-afternoon-of-fun-tickets-11666557989. Or on facebook at pimpniallsride.

And a table quiz at Courtney’s Bar in Lucan will he held at 8pm on Saturday, May 31.

aokeeffe@hnews.ie

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