Local man loses half of finger after infection from fishing at Lake Texoma

MARSHALL COUNTY, Okla. – A local fisherman is warning other anglers after he lost half of his finger after a fishing trip to Lake Texoma.

Eight weeks ago, Jay Ernst cut his ring finger on a fish fin and hook. Now, he hopes other anglers use it as a lesson after his finger had to be amputated.

“It was probably the third week I noticed it, and I told my wife, hey, let’s try to drain this because it looked like it had a little bit of infection in it and, when we did, nothing came out,” Ernst said.

That’s when Ernst’s five-week fishing trip started going downhill. His finger got worse, landing him in an emergency room twice.

The doctors gave Ernst antibiotics, which healed the outside a little bit.

“It looked great,” he said. “If you looked at it, it was like it’s a little red. Right before the surgery, you wouldn’t think it needed to come off, but there was no bone left. She didn’t hardly have to do anything to get my finger to come off.”

It wasn’t until Ernst got home in Meeker when he realized he should see a specialist.

“As soon as I saw her, Dr. Grey just shook her head and was like, wow, this should have never of got to this point,” Ernst said.

Amputating was one of the only options.

“It was very painful,” Ernst said.

Ernst, an avid fisherman, said he can’t believe it got so bad.

“That just happens,” he said. “I get so many hook pokes out there not being careful, and you get excited. I just think I should’ve been more proactive in pushing the doctors. ‘Hey, this isn’t healing up… Let’s do more.’ So, I am not blaming any of them for this going bad.”

Ernst hopes others never have to go through what he has.

“Just pay attention to those pokes, and scratches and cuts,” he said. “It will give you some sort of warning that, hey, this isn’t healing up like it should.”

Ernst said he’s not letting it stop him from fishing.

“I said you can still take my hand off and I’m still going to go fishing,” he said. “I’m going to figure out a way to reel that rod up somehow.”

Ernst goes back to the doctor this week, and he said there’s a chance he may lose the rest of his finger if the bone is still infected.

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