Fisherman nearly loses finger from rare bacteria after being cut by fish fin

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BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. – A fisherman at Lake Texoma was pricked by a fish’s fin and it led to a rare and terrifying infection.

Colby Milward was terrified when he says doctors at Integris Baptist Medical Center told him he had a rare bacteria in his hand after fishing.

And, he almost lost a finger because of it.

“We were catching fish one after the other,” said Milward.

That’s when one of the striper’s fins poked his finger.

“It didn’t hurt that bad,” said Milward. “It was ‘wipe the blood and keep fishing.’”

But, it kept getting worse.

“The first joint to the top knuckle was really red and swollen,” said Milward. “The doctor looked at it and could tell it was infected. It was hot, red and inflamed.”

Two days later he’s in the emergency room.

He was sent home with antibiotics, but the pain didn’t go away.

“I’ve had a knee surgery, a hip surgery and I’ve never felt pain like that,” said Milward. “Throbbing, you can feel your heartbeat at the end of your finger.”

He says doctors told him the bacteria, Aeromonas Hydrophilia, in his finger is found on freshwater fish, except catfish.

Three surgeries later and after a week of IV antibiotics, Milward’s finally getting back to normal.

“It’s been hard,” said Milward. “My wife has done a lot. Very thankful for her.”

He’s already planning his next trip to Lake Texoma as soon as the doctor clears him.

“I certainly won’t stop fishing,” said Milward. “I don’t want my kids to stop fishing. It’s a pastime that we love and enjoy.”

But, he’s taking gloves, hydrogen peroxide and not taking any chances on any future cuts.

“I could have lost a finger or hand, or the way the doctor described it, even worse,” said Milward. “If I would have let it go, it could have went septic or got into my bloodstream.”

He now has a warning for others.

“Be aware,” said Milward. “If something doesn’t feel right or look right, go to the doctor.”

Milward still needs some physical therapy to get the range of motion back in his finger, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

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