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NY firefighter contracts flesh-eating bacteria

Ralph Lettieri was put in a medically induced coma on Tuesday and has had six surgeries in three days


PATCHOGUE, N.Y. —- A man's family called Eyewitness News on Tuesday, because their son is in a freefall and they are desperate for help. He is being eaten alive by a horrible bacteria.

Ralph Lettieri is racing against the clock to save his son's life. Nine days ago young Ralph Lettieri was a healthy and strong 26-year-old volunteer firefighter, a lieutenant in East Patchogue.

Then came a painful bump on his left knee. He was given antibiotics, but the bump still did not go away.

On Sunday, Eyewitness News is told he was admitted to Brookhaven Hospital for necrotizing fasciitis flesh eating bacteria.

His father tells Eyewitness News that young Ralph has had six surgeries in three days. The doctors apparently were forced to remove more and more of his skin and flesh to try and stay ahead of the insatiable bacteria.

With most of his leg now completely exposed, and with double pneumonia in his lungs, young Ralph was put in a medically induced coma on Tuesday as surgeons struggled to stop the madness.

The Lettieris have no idea where or how young Ralph got this disease. They watched helplessly as their pride and joy is being eaten alive. Those who love him most are reduced to begging, for mercy, for help and for answers.

The family tells Eyewitness News that their son will be transferred to Nassau University Medical Center on Wednesday and will be put in a hyperbaric chamber.

The disease young Ralph is facing is rare, but also fatal in about 25% of the cases.

Republished with permission of WABC

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