Idaho boy recovering from flesh-eating disease

Credit: Ryan Hilliard/KTVB

Idaho boy recovering from flesh-eating disease

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 5:53 PM

DIETRICH, Idaho -- An Idaho teenager is back home, after spending weeks in the hospital, fighting to stay alive.

His family tells us flesh-eating bacteria got into the 13-year-old's system through a cut on his knee.

Slade Dill was playing tag after school on September 18 and fell. He thought it was just a scratch, but it turned out to be much worse.

Slade is an active eighth grader and a runner on the cross-country team.

At first, he wasn't worried about his knee.

"It stayed normal for a day and then it swelled up real big," said Slade.

But when it started to swell, his mom Dixie Dill decided to take him to a nearby hospital.

The swelling just got worse, and then started spreading up his leg.

"They didn't really know what it was, so they just put me on antibiotics," said Slade.

But the medicine wasn't helping, and Slade's mother grew worried as the swelling then spread to her son's stomach.

"At one point it's hard to believe it's even happening," said Dixie Dill.

Slade was transferred to a hospital in Twin Falls, and that's when a doctor finally realized what he had.

He diagnosed Slade with a rare and often deadly flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis.

Doctors told the family the bacteria had somehow gotten into Slade's system through his cut, and was given a slim chance of recovery.

"I had no clue what it was but I could tell by the look on his face, the nurses, it was just kind of a sign," said Dixie.

Slade was airlifted to Salt Lake, and immediately the surgeries began to stop the disease and save his life.

"I felt good after the second surgery, that positive things were happening and a miracle has happened at that point," said Dixie.

Dixie says what was even more miraculous was that doctors had planned to amputate her son's leg, but decided not to because they thought he wouldn't survive.

"What he would have done when he opened up the leg was to cut there but it was in his abdomen and they didn't think they were going to save him so they left the leg alone," said Dixie.

Now, Slade is full of smiles, grateful he's here, with his leg, along with 400 stitches, and an unbelievable story.

The Dills tell us they are grateful for the community's prayers and support throughout the experience.  

Slade is expected to be home for the next few weeks before returning to school.  

Slade should recover fully, and hopes to return to running by the spring track season.

As for the disease, doctors told the family it comes from a strain of strep that can be found anywhere, and somehow got into Slade's system through his open wound when he fell.

 

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