Baton Rouge flesh-eating bacteria survivor released from hospital

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Dick Empson

(WGNO) — The Baton Rouge man who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria last month after swimming in Mississippi has been released from the hospital, but his recovery is not over.

Dick Empson had been at Hancock Medical Center since June 28. According to a fundraising page, Empson moved to a rehabilitation facility in Louisiana on Wednesday.

“Uncle Dick is officially back in Louisiana!!!! He arrived at the rehab hospital around lunch time today to a room FULL of posters, balloons, and flowers,” the fundraising page states. “The ride back from Mississippi was smooth, and he looked great!”

Family members say Empson contracted the flesh-eating bacteria while on a vacation in Bay St. Louis.  Empson’s leg had to be amputated to prevent the bacteria from spreading. He will now have therapy to learn how to walk.

“He has a long 6 weeks ahead of him, but we know that he can and WILL kick butt. Please keep the prayers coming, as it will be tough road to regaining his strength the next month and a half. We have seen God work amazing miracles these last 2 weeks, and I know He will continue working them through the rest of Uncle Dicks recovery. As always, we can’t thank everyone enough for your love, prayers, and generosity.”

Empson was being treated for a vibrio vulnificus infection. The bacteria is naturally in warm bodies of water. If it gets into your bloodstream through a cut or open wound you should seek medical treatment immediately.

Officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health told WLOX the only confirmed case of the vibrio virus in Mississippi was a Hancock County resident.