Man almost killed by cracking his knuckles when it led to him developing a flesh-eating bug

Man almost killed by cracking his knuckles when it led to him developing a flesh-eating bug

Everybody has a bad habit that they just can't resist. Some people bite their nails, some people chew their hair, and some people crack their knuckles. Service technician Antoine Boylston was one of those people: a habitual knuckle-cracker, who through a quirk of fate and bad luck, narrowly avoided dying because of this very habit.

The trouble began back in April 2016, when Antoine Boylston absent-mindedly cracked his knuckles while working, which opened a cut on his hand. No big deal right? Antoine thought so too, until he felt violently sick and nauseated later that same evening. Before long he felt an intense pain in his pinky finger, which made him think that he might have broken it. Antoine went to hospital, where doctors insisted on performing a skin biopsy. It was there that they learned that cracking his knuckles and opening up the cut on his little finger had led to Antoine contracting a deadly flesh-eating virus known as "necrotising fasciitis."

An image of Antoine Boylston. Credit: Press Association

In a recent interview, Antoine stated: "I thought a flesh-eating bug was something people got in the movies – not from cracking their knuckles too much. I’d do it a lot, and not think anything of it – but I was going to live to regret it ... The whole time I thought I just had a broken finger that was causing me to feel sick to my stomach. It wasn’t until I woke from surgery, and was told I had necrotising fasciitis, that I understood the severity of it all. The infection had spread through my hand from the cut, almost to my elbow.

He added: "Doctors warned I may lose my hand – but if I had waited much longer I could’ve lost the entire arm or died. I had only heard of flesh-eating viruses from movies. I didn’t think that was a thing people could actually get, let alone that what I thought was a broken finger from cracking my knuckles too much was actually a disease, spreading up my arm ... It looked like something from a zombie movie, hanging from my hand and was kind of starting to smell weird."

Antoine Boylston's hand after receiving a skin graft. Credit: Press Association

Doctor's were forced to perform a skin graft on Antoine's arm, as well as amputate his useless pinky finger, something which has severely affected his grip in that hand: "I try to never use my hand as an excuse for poor performance, but it does bother me sometimes," Antoine stated. "Typing, swinging a hammer, and holding small items is a pain. I can’t form a fist. Pocket change is now my worst enemy. I forget and try to hold it in my right hand and it slides out every time. But, I’m alive – and I will never crack my knuckles again – I can’t."

However, things are looking up for him now, and after his physical therapy ended, Antoine has begun competeing in ‘strongmen’ tournaments and weightlifting tournaments. It just shows that, despite his wounds, he won't let his bad experiences keep him down.