A green-fingered dad revealed he almost lost his hand to a flesh-eating bug caused by a tiny scratch while gardening.
Steve Palmer, 34, was left with his flesh eaten away to his tendons – after he scratched his hand clearing up the garden and developed the killer bug.
Medics were forced to rebuild his hand using skin pulled down from further up his arm.
And now safely home in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, the air conditioning engineer has spoken out to warn other people to be more careful when pottering around in the garden.
Steve said: “I can’t believe something like this could happen from gardening.
“I’ve never known pain like it, it was excruciating.
“I had scratched it on Saturday, by the Sunday evening, the skin was rotting away – I’m lucky to be alive, the doctors told me the mortality rate was 75%.
“They had to tunnel the flesh from further up my arm and pull it down, just so I could have the skin graft over it.”
Steve had been clearing flood damage to his garden with his wife Laura, and sons Charlie, seven, and Jacob, three, when he suffered a tiny scratch to his hand.
He had thought nothing of it, but by the next morning, Steve was unable to move his finger and by nighttime, was shaking, with fever and had stabbing pains.
To his horror, he was watching his flesh being eaten away and has since been forced to undergo four surgeries, clearing the wound of infection and having a skin graft from his upper thigh.
Doctors realised he was suffering from Necrotising Fasciitis, a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin and surrounding muscles and organs – and acted to save his hand and his life.