Thursday 22 February 2018

Man dies after swimming with new tattoo

He swan just five days after getting his tattoo

Tattoo artist at work close up
Tattoo artist at work close up

Daniel O'Connor

A man in the United States died from septic shock caused by swimming days after getting a tattoo.

The 31-year-old had gotten a tattoo on his right leg of a cross with ‘Jesus is my life’ written under it before deciding to take a swim in the Gulf of Mexico five days afterwards.

However, severe pain in both of his legs and feet meant he had to be admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas just three days later, according to a case study in the BMJ journal.

The report describes how the man was diagnosed with vibrosis: an infection that stems from a bacterium commonly found in ocean water called Vibrio vulnificus.

The Centre for Disease Control estimates that 80,000 people suffer from the illness each year, resulting in 100 deaths in the United States annually.

Tattoo artists commonly advise people after getting tattoos to avoid soaking a tattoo while the skin heals in order to prevent infection.

Speaking to CNN, lead author of the report Dr. Nicholas Hendren referred to this man as “among the sicker of the patients” they had seen at the hospital.

"He was already in the early stages of septic shock, and his kidneys had already had some injury," Hendren said.

"Very quickly, his septic shock progressed from ... early stages to severe stages very rapidly, within 12 hours or so, which is typical for this type of infection."

Although Hendren says that vomiting and diarrhoea are often the only symptoms present, infections can also occur when a wound is contaminated with salt water.

Other symptoms the man suffered from included a fever, chills and redness around the infected tattoo.

The man was kept sedated for weeks after being admitted, but his condition gradually worsened and he died two months after being first admitted.

It is believed that the man’s liver disease from drinking six beers a day was a main contributor to the severity of the infection.

"For patients who are healthy, this organism very rarely infects people," Hendren said.

"If they are infected, most people do fine and essentially never present to the hospital. But in patients who do have liver disease, they're susceptible to much more infection."

The report recommends that people who choose to get tattoos do so in a licensed place and that they treat the wound like any other.

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