Man says he nearly died from flesh-eating bacteria after beach trip

by: Linda Stouffer Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A local man is warning others about a terrifying infection that almost killed him after a trip to the beach.

Alan Avery, an art gallery owner, was on a family beach trip when he scraped his stomach on the sandy bottom.

“The bacteria entered that way,” Avery said.

At first, Avery thought it was just a virus. But then as the skin infection called necrotizing fasciitis spread, his abdomen swelled and suddenly he was very confused, even calling 911 to report imaginary break-ins.

“I left reality, I started becoming septic and having hallucinations,” Avery said. 

Alan Avery survives flesh-eating bacteria after a beach trip.
WSB-TV/Handout from family

It was a year ago Monday that Alan was rushed to Emory Hospital, and he said without a doubt, he wouldn’t have made it without a DeKalb County officer, who went above and beyond with a personal phone call to his husband.

“If she had not made that phone call, the doctors at Emory said two hours later I would be dead,” Avery said.
Avery went through nine surgeries, a coma and excruciating pain.


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“There were times when I didn’t want to live, I wish that I had not come out of the coma,” Avery said.

Avery and his husband would like to personally thank DeKalb officer who warned them, and the doctors who saved his life.

He wants swimmers to check for cuts and scrapes, and immediately clean them with anti-bacterial soap and alcohol.

“It can bring your chances down of having what I’ve had -- your body literally cut apart and almost dying. It would save your life,” Avery said.