Boy loses leg to flesh-eating bacteria

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Giancarlo Gil

SAN DIEGO — A South Bay teenage athlete suffered from a flesh-eating bacteria that caused his leg to be amputated, doctors said Tuesday.

Giancarlo Gil, 14, has undergone six surgeries at Rady Children’s Hospital since falling ill 10 days ago, according to family friend Jesse Ortega. Ortega said Giancarlo’s right leg was amputated below the knee last week in order to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Last night, the remainder of the leg was removed up to the teen’s hip, he said.

A GoFundMe page set up for the South Bay teen and has raised more than $4,000 as of midday Tuesday.

Chuy Ortega Reyna, the creator of the fundraising page said the teen is a freshman at Chula Vista High School, where he played football and baseball.

“The road to recovery will not be an easy one physically, emotionally and financially,” Reyna wrote on the page. “His parents have taken time off of their jobs to be close to their son, but as we all know, the bills of everyday living do not stop. There will also be upcoming medical expenses that will need to be covered, including prosthetics.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. Accurate diagnosis, prompt treatment with intravenously administered antibiotics and surgery are important to stopping the infection, which can become life-threatening in a very short amount of time.

The CDC said the occurrence of the disease is rare, even though it can be caused by several types of bacteria. Healthy people with strong immune systems can usually avoid the disease by practicing good hygiene and proper wound care.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, said a bacteria found on the skin can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, if wounds aren’t cleansed.

“It’s a rare condition,” Wooten told City News Service. “Since 2010, we’ve had 124 cases of necrotizing fasciitis” in San Diego County.

Of those patients, only three have been under the age of 17, according to Wooten. She said many of the others had an underlying medical condition that weakened their immune system.

People who get any kind of injury that breaks the skin — even as simple as a paper cut, blister or scrape — should see a doctor if the wound gets warm and/or oozes, she said.

The GoFundMe page for Giancarlo has generated more than 78 donations in two days.

The family is also asking for donations to the San Diego Blood Bank in Giancarlo’s name.

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