Monday, January 16, 2012

Flesh-Eating Disease Blamed On ‘Bath Salts’

A New Orleans woman lost her arm, a breast – and nearly her life – when she was ravaged by flesh-eating bacteria after she injected “bath salts,” an increasingly popular stimulant drug. Doctors say the infection is unusual, but might become more widespread as more users inject the drug to get high. When the 34-year-old woman came to the emergency room at the Louisiana Health Sciences Center in August 2011, her right arm was painfully swollen and dotted with a small red puncture wound. Doctors gave her intravenous antibiotics. But things went from bad to worse. The woman’s skin began blistering and turned from red to a purplish hue. Doctors decided it was time to operate. When they cut open her forearm, they found dead skin and muscle, the warpath of flesh-eating bacteria. In the time it took doctors to operate further up her arm, the tissue was dying right before their eyes. To stop the infection for good, doctors amputated the woman’s arm and right breast. The woman told doctors that she had injected the stimulant-drug known as bath salts at a party the night before she came to the hospital.