College student nearly dies from flesh-eating bacteria

FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Looking back, Kylie Marble admits it was a bad idea when she started playing a game of tag -- on her bike.

"I knew from the beginning it wasn't the most genius idea," said Kylie, 21, from her hospital bed at OHSU. "It seemed fun. We had a blast. It just went a little awry."

A little awry?

More like horrific.

Kylie was home from college for the summer in Forest Grove.

She and her family were on a bike ride on the Banks-Vernonia Trail on Father's Day, June 15th, when she fell off her bike trying to play tag.

She cut her knee on the paved bike path.

But the gash wasn't really even the bad part.

Somehow, an extremely rare kind of flesh-eating bacteria infected her wound.

Doctors treated Kylie's wound that same day with stitches although nobody knew at the time that the bacteria, known as necrotizing fasciitis, was ravaging her skin and muscle.

The bacteria infects 650 to 800 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kylie's doctors believe the bacteria entered her wound from soil on the trail.

The next day, Kylie went back to the hospital after she says the pain got significantly worse.

She was sedated and wouldn't wake up until almost a week later.

"They at that point told us they might have to amputate her leg," said Kylie's mom, Anita, who also didn't think the wound was anything worse than an everyday wound at first. "It was serious enough that we had to sign papers to amputate her leg. They could do that if they needed to save her life, of course."

After 9 operations, Kylie is awake and alert again although still at OHSU.

Doctors managed to save her leg -- and her life.

"My brother put it this way. It's like I won the lottery in a terrible way," said Kylie. "This is such a random, random thing."

Kylie will need more skin grafts and plastic surgeries before starting physical therapy.

"I'll be able to walk. I'll probably walk a little funny," said Kylie. "I should be able to do a lot of things.

A lot of it just depends on how hard I'm willing to work."

"I'm blessed to be here," she said.