Man survives flesh-eating bacteria disease

September 27, 2012 8:07:21 PM PDT
26-year-old Ralphie Lettieri beat the odds and survived a flesh-eating bacteria disease.

"I feel like I'm a miracle," Ralphie Lettieri said.

Ralphie Lettieri is a miracle after having survived being eaten alive by a chilling bacteria.

"Doing this now, I feel like I can do anything," Lettieri said.

What began in July with a simple bump on his left knee quickly morphed into a monstrous nightmare called necrotizing fasciitis, flesh eating disease.

Within days, this strong and healthy 26-year-old volunteer firefighter from East Patchogue was in a coma.

Doctors tried desperately to save him. Cutting off pieces of flesh every night.

When it became clear the bacterium was winning, when Ralph's organs began shutting down, surgeons at Nassau University Medical Center had no choice.

On August 11th, they amputated his leg. Even then there was no guarantee.

After 2 grueling months and countless surgeries, after many dark nights at death's door, this horrible disease is now the rear view mirror.

Ralphie will go home to his son and family Friday.

Lt. Lettieri has months of physical therapy ahead, hopefully he'll have a new leg by the New Year.

And then, it's back to the firehouse and saving other people's lives.

You can help Ralphie Lettieri with his medical costs by making a donation to:

The Help Ralphie Fund
c/o A. Citarella, Chief
510 Oakdale Avenue
East Patchogue, NY 11772

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