An Ohio man had five toes amputated after being bitten by a tick during a summer fishing trip.
Toledo’s Tim Rosebrook is now left with a stump in his right foot after the bite triggered an infection that restricted blood flow to the area.
Rosebrook didn’t think of it when she noticed a tick on the third toe of her right foot after the trip last July.
He removed it, but three weeks later the toe changed color, and the doctors said the bite had caused an infection and they had no choice but to amputate it.
He seemed fine, but four months later he was back in the hospital after another toe changed color.
Tim Rosebrook, of Toledo, had five toes amputated on his right foot after he became infected with a tick bite. The infection ended up cutting off circulation to his toes.
Mr. Rosebrook (right) is pictured above with his physician, Dr. Ahmad Younes, a cardiologist with ProMedica in Ohio.
Doctors said the bite had triggered an infection that had damaged his blood vessels and caused critical limb ischemia, or when blood flow to extremities such as the toes is restricted.
This leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients in these areas, risking cell death and problems repairing wounds, such as those caused by a tick bite.
Doctors warned that in many cases of this condition, someone’s leg would have to be amputated below the knee.
But with Mr. Rosebrook they were able avoid amputation of your lower leg after performing surgery to reconstruct some of your veins, restoring blood flow to most of the affected area.
Describing the loss of his third toe on his right foot, Mr. Rosebrook said 13ABC: ‘They sent me to Flower (hospital), checked me in there, and the next thing I knew, my third toe was removed.’
When she returned in November with another diseased toe, she said, ‘That toe they removed right there in my room, it was so infected!
“In that whole week, we had one toe removed, and then we went to work on the veins in the right leg, and then the next day is when all my toes were removed.”
During a tick bite, the creature sticks its head under the skin before injecting an anesthetic saliva so the host doesn’t feel any pain. Then it starts sucking blood.
At this time, however, there is also a risk that the tick will transmit dangerous bacteria to a host that can cause an infection.
Dr. Ahmad Younes, a ProMedica cardiologist in Ohio who treated Rosebrook, said the hospital had “declared war” on the infection to save his patient.
“We know that patients with critical limb ischemia, which is what he had, are at high risk for amputations,” he said.
“This is an advanced condition of peripheral arterial disease, where there is cholesterol plaque in the arteries that supply your foot, and that prevents wound healing if there isn’t adequate blood flow.”
The doctor was able to save Mr. Rosebrook’s leg after performing surgery to rebuild some of his veins.
He added: “The word we use, I think, we’re going to go to war to keep this leg.”
In a warning to others, he said: “Not all tick bites will cause patients to lose their legs, but we are more careful with patients with risk factors.”
“If they have diabetes, if they have high cholesterol, if they are smokers, if they have heart disease, these patients are at increased risk for peripheral artery disease and we take any of their injuries seriously.”
Approximately 50,000 Americans are bitten by ticks annually, estimates suggest, though only in rare cases does this lead to amputations.
However, tick bites are becoming more common as warmer temperatures allow the creatures to be active longer and spread farther north.
Doctors recommend getting a bite treated if someone is concerned, especially if a red bull’s-eye shape appears around it, which is indicative of Lyme disease.