Tony Martin And Contributed

Leg amputation started with a blister and a 'super' bug

BRIAN Johns went from a highly-paid mining employee to having his leg amputated in a matter of months.

While working on a project building a base for a pipeline from Gladstone to Curtis Island in 2012, in particularly muddy, dangerous conditions, Mr Johns said he wasn't aware of the dangers.

"They never once told us that there was stuff in that swamp that could kill you," he said.

"For some reason I must have got some water or mud in my boot and I got two bugs which actually combined to form a super bug.

"It got in through my blister into my bone and started eating my foot away... it started off in my big toe... and eventually they said the only way to stop it was to cut my leg off."

The Gargett-based man said he had since found out the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria was what he contracted and it was a common bug found right up the east coast.

"Anyone fishing, if you walk out there and you don't wear boots and you get cut on a shell you get the same bug so you could be losing your feet or anything just by going offshore fishing here or going in the mud plains," he said. "I was on between $150-200,000 a year, that was my income, now I'm on nothing, just a pension all because of it."

Shine Lawyers partner Jamie Shine said while there was medical information available which highlighted the dangers of these bacteria, the appropriate measures were not put in place to protect workers.

"Brian's employer failed to provide him with adequate equipment to keep him safe - specifically gumboots and waders," Mr Shine said.



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