Man loses leg to flesh eating bacteria after fall in Pender County


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One man has been recovering at New Hanover County Regional Medical Center after an accident in Pender County that ultimately cost him his leg.

Bryan Ward was enjoying a boat ride with his brother until he accidentally fell while returning to the Harbor Village boat ramp in the Olde Point neighborhood, creating a cut that developed into much more.

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“Pay attention because there’s things that you don’t even think about that can take your life within a matter of hours,” Ward said.

Ward has been battling a life threatening flesh eating bacteria for nearly a month.

“It’s been a very, very painful experience. I mean probably, I can’t even really describe it,” Ward said.

His sister, Brandi Edwards, said this experience has made her appreciate life a little more.

“It was necrotizing fasciitis, and I looked it up. It wasn’t good. We all kind of broke,” Edwards said.

After numerous antibiotics Ward had to make a decision: his life or his leg.

“It had gotten to the point to me, I had a gut feeling that I could either cut this leg off, or I could lose my life. I mean ’cause I really felt that’s where I was headed,” Ward said.

His leg may be gone, but Ward is trying to continue to stay positive.

“Maybe what I went through, me loosing my leg and this getting out where we can spread the word, maybe it will keep somebody else from experiencing this, especially a child,” Ward said.

Pender County Health Department Director Carolyn Moser knows this happened in Pender County, but says this is a very rare occurrence and should not cause alarm. Moser says even if the bacteria is present, it does not mean that anyone who gets in the water with a cut will get necrotizing fasciitis. Moser says it’s also not considered a “reportable” disease because it is so rare.

As for Ward, he still has a long road to recovery, but is thankful to be alive.

He will be going home from the hospital Monday on his birthday.