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Texas man survived shark attack, but then his luck ran out

Published Aug 23rd, 2018 7:08PM EDT
shark bite infection
Image: imnop88a

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Getting into a close encounter with one of the most perfect predators on the planet is not an ideal situation for anyone, but that’s exactly what happened to Blain Shelton. The 42-year-old Texas man found himself on the wrong end of a shark while swimming off the shore of Boliver Island near Galveston.

The shark tore his leg up pretty severely, but he managed to escape with his life. In most cases, surviving a shark attack is a momentous feat, but Shelton can’t celebrate just yet. That’s because the bite was only the beginning of his struggles, and he’s now fighting off a severe flesh-eating skin infection that took root when his wounded leg was exposed to the water.

“I’d heard there was bacteria in the water, I just never treated it serious,” Shelton told KHOU11. “But to tell you the truth, if you’ve got a scratch on your arm or your leg, I wouldn’t get in that water. And if you do, bring some alcohol with you to clean it the second you get out. It’s nothing to play with.”

Shelton’s warning may sound extreme, but he has reason to be overly cautious after the ordeal he’s been through. The shark’s bite, which was located in his lower thigh just above his knee, was mended easily enough but it wasn’t long before he began experiencing severe pain near the wound.

Upon his return to the hospital doctors discovered that his skin was beginning to rot away due to a flesh-eating bacterial infection. Shelton told the news station that he could barely walk when he returned to the hospital, but he’s since been on a steady stream of pain meds while the infection is being treated. He is expected to recover.

Nevertheless, the entire saga is having a serious impact on his bank account, and his bills have now tallied over $100,000. He’s since set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of covering part of that massive total.