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I suffered a tiny cut on my hands – it almost KILLED me

I suffered a tiny cut on my hands – it almost KILLED me after flesh-eating bacteria left holes in my hand

  • Carpenter’s small injury soon developed into a a form of strep A and cellulitis
  • The flesh-eating bacterial infection turned his fingers purple and black

A carpenter was left with holes in his hands and missing his ring finger after a tiny cut became infected.

Apprentice Jamie Constable, from Lancashire, was used to getting scrapes on his hands as part of his job. 

Normally, the 21-year-old would ignore them.

His own mother even urged him to get medical attention after a hand saw fell onto his hand and grazed his knuckle in November 2022. 

However, he ignored her wishes.

Jamie Constable, 21, (pictured right) would normally ignore cuts, but one day after a hand saw fell and cut his knuckle, the minor injury soon developed into a flesh-eating bacterial infection turning his fingers purple and black. His ring finger was amputated in a bid to save his hand (pictured left)

But four days later Mr Constable’s sister, Catherine, noticed him vomiting and being completely ‘out of it’.

Soon after, his entire arm flared up and doubled in size and began leaking pus.

Mr Constable was rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where doctors confirmed his hand was infected with cellulitis. 

The life-threatening bacterial infection — caused by common bacteria which live on the skin and enter wounds — can kill tissue and lead to gangrene. 

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.

If it is not treated quickly is can be serious.

Symptoms include hot, swollen and painful skin and sometimes blistered skin. 

 If it’s not treated quickly, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the blood, muscles and bones.

The NHS urges people to call 999 or go to A&E if some has the following symptoms: 

  • a very high temperature, or you feel hot and shivery
  • a fast heartbeat or fast breathing
  • purple patches on your skin, but this may be less obvious on brown or black skin
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • confusion or disorientation
  • cold, clammy or pale skin
  • unresponsiveness or loss of

He was rushed in for emergency surgery to flush out the infection.

Mr Constable said: ‘If I hadn’t gone into surgery then, I would have died in the next few hours due to blood poisoning.

‘I genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong when I noticed the cut, as it was so tiny, but now I was fighting for my life.’

Following the procedure, he has been left with holes in his hand and fingers where ‘the infection has destroyed all the tissue’.

Mr Constable added: ‘In a bid to save parts of my hand, they had to amputate my ring finger and scrape skin off my thigh to do a skin graft.

‘I’m left with webbed hands and an electric shock feeling going through my hand from the amputated finger.

‘It’s completely turned my life upside down and I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy — all because of a small cut.’

Recalling when he took a turn for the worse, Mr Constable added: ‘I don’t really remember much, as I was completely out of it.

‘All I can remember thinking was that I hope they can sort this out, as I wanted to get back to my job – that was my main concern.

‘It was so severely infected that my fingers were starting to turn purple and black because the infection was cutting off the blood flow.’

Mr Constable is adapting to a hand with holes and an amputated finger.

Jamie Constable, 21, an apprentice carpenter from Lancashire was used to getting scrapes and cuts on his hands as part of his job

He said: ‘Knowing I’ll be going back to work one day is getting me through, as I love it so much.

‘I need to have a few more surgeries to reconstruct my hand, as I still have no tendon in my index finger – but time will get me there.

‘My advice to anyone is just to be patient, as it doesn’t take a couple of months to heal from a trauma like this.

‘Allow yourself time and be kind – and most importantly, be thankful for the gift of life.’

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