FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Doctors are issuing a warning about swimming with open wounds after a man in Florida had to have his leg amputated because of a flesh-eating bacterial infection.
Zach Mody only had a minor cut on his toe when he went swimming off a Fort Myers beach in the Gulf of Mexico about a month ago. Now, he's in a hospital bed and is missing one leg.
"I would have never thought in a million years this would have happened to me," Mody told ABC affiliate WZVN-TV.
His symptoms started shortly after his visit to the beach.
"I noticed my foot was a little irritated and it just had a little red spot on it," Mody recalled.
Twelve hours later, Mody said the pain became unbearable. He checked himself into Health Park Hospital.
"By the time that I got from downstairs to the operating room, there were these big giant blood blisters on my foot," Mody said.
Doctors diagnosed it as a flesh-eating bacteria that quickly spread up his leg. A doctor told him at that time that it was a surgical emergency and that amputation was a possibility.
Mody, a master carpenter and avid motorcyclist, would undergo seven surgeries before doctors finally removed his leg.
"This is horrible. It hurts," Mody told WZVN-TV. "The mental aspect you have to have to keep a smile on your face to go through something like this. I don't know how I'm doing it."
Recent water tests of the area where Mody was swimming came back negative for any dangerous levels of bacteria.
Man loses leg to flesh-eating bacteria after swimming in Florida