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Man Dies After Swimming with New Tattoo

Jun 09, 2017 07:30 AM EDT
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a tattoo artist preparing to tattoo a man's bare arm

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An unidentified Texas man did not pay attention to the aftercare instructions for his new tattoo. Apparently that has cost him his life. 

The man went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico 5 days after he got a tattoo of a cross that read "Jesus is my life" and contracted an infection known as vibrio vulnificus. While the infection is not uncommon, it was the acute liver disease that the man already had that led to toxic shock. He was on life support within 24 hours of being admitted to the hospital.

About two months after being admitted to Dallas Parkland Memorial Hospital with severe pain in both legs and feet, the 31 year old man died. Doctors were surprised by how quickly the man's condition deteriorated. 

Most tattoo parlors give their customers a pamphlet with specific after care instruction. This man did not heed those instructions and went swimming in the Gulf within 5 days of getting the tattoo --perhaps counting on Jesus to save him. Neither Jesus nor the doctors at Parkland Memorial could save the man from a flesh-eating bacteria that he contracted in the Gulf. 

Caring for a new tattoo is pretty basic. The goal is to keep it clean and dry. Most tattoos heal up within 2 weeks, but only if they are cared for correctly. Soaking in any water of any kind is not permitted. The Gulf of Mexico is notoriously filled with bacteria because of it's high temperature and relatively stagnant flow compared to the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. 

According to researchers, the man would not likely have been in any danger had he not had acute liver disease. Healthy people rarely die from vibrio vulnificus. However, doctors did note that the infection is dangerous for anyone with a new tattoo. 

 

 

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