Crabbing trip turns into life or death situation

Woman expected to survive after contracting flesh-eating bacteria

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - A local woman was almost on her death bed after a crabbing trip in which she caught a virus in murky water.

Dianne Longley, of Green Cove Springs, is the latest victim affected by the bacteria to share her story. She was crabbing on Sept. 13 when she cut her finger while putting bait on a hook.

Fortunately in her case, she went to a hospital early and is expected to survive.

Longley was diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating virus and is now recovering at Kindred Hospital in Green Cove Springs. She said she's lucky to be alive today.

"When I was tying the chicken on a string, I cut myself on my finger, just a tiny cut on my finger, and didn't think anything of it and basically sat in water for 12 hours crabbing," Longley said. "Had a good day, finished up, went home."

Longley's normal day out in the Florida sunshine, crabbing in Guana Dam, took a turn for the worst the next night. She began to feel pain in her leg, and before she knew it she had a temperature of 103 degrees.

Longley went to the hospital that night, and doctors worked quickly to figure out what was going on. Doctors said she'd contracted Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh eating bacteria that lives in warm sea or murky water.

"After that, I started getting really fuzzy because my blood pressure went down, my kidneys were starting to fail," Longley said. "So they started to get really concerned, so they started giving me other antibiotics, pain medicine when my blood pressure would allow it "

Longley is no stranger to the water. She grew up fishing, crabbing and boating.

She said she never in a million years expected to nearly lose her life while doing something she loves.

"They're saying that I'm going to fully recover," Longley said. "I could have lost a limb, I could have lost so much just because I went and had some fun in the Florida sunshine, you know, and it just didn't make any sense."

Longley said she's grateful that she'll be able to eventually return to a normal life, and her husband said he's counting his blessings that his wife is going to be OK.

"So blessed, so blessed," Dan Longley said. "It's just, there's no words that can describe because it's possible she could have been gone in the first four days."

Longley said if things go well and as planned, she hopes to be out of the hospital, back home and sleeping in her own bed in three to six weeks.

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