Bracknell man's leg 'nearly lost to flesh-eating bacteria'

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Media captionSteven Holzman is now at home recovering and can walk with the help of a crutch

A man who nearly lost his leg to a "flesh-eating bacteria" after developing athlete's foot says he is lucky to still be alive.

Steven Holzman, from Bracknell, treated his foot with a pharmacy cream.

But the next day it had swollen up and he was rushed to hospital where he had three operations in four days.

Doctors found he had developed necrotizing fasciitis, which had begun to rot his flesh from his foot up to his hip.

They believe Mr Holzman contracted the rare flesh-attacking bacterial infection through a small cut between his toes while he was working in wet conditions as a builder.

Mr Holzman said when the dressing was taken off after his first operation, there was "a gaping hole in the top of my foot".

Trench foot

He said: "I was absolutely terrified. I didn't know when it was going to stop, if it was going to stop."

The hole carried on growing until it nearly reached his hip bone.

"My last operation, I was going down with the understanding that I might come back with one leg, rather than two," Mr Holzman said.

"I'm very lucky to survive it, but I'm even more lucky that I've still got my leg."

Anthony Armstrong, surgeon at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, where Mr Holzman was treated, said: "This is a condition which in previous days would have been known as trench foot.

"It is true to say that even in this day and age, with modern medicine, modern intensive care and surgery, there is still a mortality rate which means that patients may die from this condition if it's not diagnosed and treated effectively and quickly."

Mr Holzman was admitted to hospital at the end of November and had to spend several weeks there.

He is now at home recovering and can walk with the help of a crutch but is unable to drive.

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