GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's called Vibrio Vulnificus. That's the medical name. Most of us know it as the deadly flesh eating bacteria disease. Just this past week, a 38 year old Ocean Springs man died four days after becoming infected. But it is survivable, if you get quick treatment.
Several weeks ago, Rene Olier was on a simple fishing trip, south of Cat Island in Louisiana waters. Today, he's walking into the Wound Care Center at Memorial Hospital, his right arm amputated at the shoulder.
He was never in the water, just using his hands to pull shrimp out of the live bait well. Something went wrong very quick.
"We went fishing early Thursday morning," Olier recalled. "Friday around 2am, I knew I was getting sick, but I didn't know what the problem was."
That problem was Vibrio Vulnificus.
Jocko Angle's story is different, but the infection was the same. He was in the water under the Popp's Ferry bridge. A few hours later, his life changed.
"I actually had to be ambulanced in to the ER, had two visits to the ER, one to the VA and then approximately six hours later I went back to the ER," Angle recalled.
One year later, his left leg is still twice its normal size, and he's still undergoing treatment. But his leg was saved. Does he feel lucky?
"I wouldn't say lucky; I would say blessed. It was the most painful thing, and these people saved my leg. And I had heard of it, but I never thought it would be me," Angle said.
Meanwhile, Olier has a message for others.
"A bad day fishing is better than a good day working, but just be real careful, just watch what you do. It could turn out to be a devastating thing," Olier warned.
Losing his arm was devastating, but he knows it could have been worse.
"I'm happy to be alive. It could have really went bad the other way. I'm just real happy to be alive."