Have you ever thought that your tattoo could kill you? Probably not. This man from Texas would likely agree with you if he were alive to tell the story.
The 31-year-old, who is only identified as a Hispanic male, got a tattoo on his calf that bore a cross and the phrase, "Jesus is my life" five days before going for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a good thing that his thoughts were in the right place because he contracted Vibrio Vulificus that led to septic shock and a slow, painful death.
Now, it's a general rule of thumb that new tattoos stay out of the water since the artwork is nothing but an open wound that is a magnet for bacteria. It's not clear whether this Dallas man got the memo before taking the plunge. Unfortunately, his knowledge, and perhaps lack thereof, didn't matter much since he took a swim in the Gulf and suffered the horrendous consequences. The poor man died after getting a tattoo as a result of the body art's ink mixing with water and chlorine.
"Within the first 12 to 24 hours, his pain and discoloration in the leg advanced and developed what's called bullae or fluid-filled blisters," Nicholas Hendren, M.D., of Parkland Health & Hospital System and UT Southwestern Medical Center says . Reports from the hospital claim the man died after getting a tattoo eight weeks into treatment for the Vibrio Vulificus virus.
Although his tattoo was the source of bacteria entering the body and wreaking havoc, doctors say that the 31-year-old man may not have succumbed to the attack if it were not for his history of consuming six 12-ounce beers daily. Such habit led to chronic liver disease in the patient, which weakened his immune system and chances of surviving the Vibrio Vulificus virus.
"What's often the case is that as the body is trying to fight the infection, the immune response is so strong that it actually begins to cause damage to other organs like the kidneys, the liver the heart and that can make you very sick," Hendren says of the infection.
Those considering body art in the near or distant future should understand the importance of following the instructions given by tattooing professionals and refrain from exposing open wounds to the elements.