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Getting Poked By Shrimp Puts Fishing Guide In Hospital

Discussion in 'Shrimping School, Learning, Tips and Tricks' started by Nautical Gator, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    Veteran fishing guide Tommy Pellegrin nearly lost his finger last week after getting pierced by a live shrimp during a fishing trip.


    If veteran fishing guide Tommy Pellegrin had a dollar for every time he's been poked by a shrimp during his long career, he'd be written up in Forbes. Shrimp have horns on their heads and needle-sharp spikes on their tails, and they love to use either to get quick revenge on their captors.

    But a shrimp that popped Pellegrin last Monday morning nearly cost him his pointer finger.

    "We probably caught 95 percent of our fish that day on plastics, but somebody wanted to use a shrimp," Pellegrin said. "I grabbed the shrimp like normal, and he snapped me with his tail. On the palm side of your hand, where the knuckles are, there are creases where the skin is really thin. He hit me right in the exact spot where the skin is thin and the tendon runs."

    Pellegrin felt the pain of the skin prick, but moved on without giving it another thought. He continued fishing, finished the trip, cleaned his clients' fish and washed the boat, but as the day moved on, his finger barked at him more than what was usual.

    "I thought, 'He must have left a little 'pecan' in there or something,'" Pellegrin said. "It just kept progressing and progressing. I thought, 'Uh oh, this isn't right.'"

    Having fished all his life, Pellegrin is well familiar with the dangers of vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that thrives in salt water, particularly in warm-weather months. Vibrio is a flesh-eating bacteria that has cost anglers and surf-waders some body parts.

    Pellegrin soaked his finger in epsom salt, and went to bed hoping his finger would be better in the morning. It wasn't, so he called his doctor, who prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

    Pellegrin began taking the drug, but was still concerned about his finger. He called a pharmacist friend, and told him what was going on. When he told the pharmacist the name of the antibiotic he had been prescribed, the pharmacist told him he really needed to be on doxycycline hyclate, which is most effective at treating infections caused by marine bacteria.

    Pellegrin tried his doctor again to ask about doxycycline, but was unable to get through, so he called a longtime fishing buddy, who's also a physician, and he prescribed the better antibiotic.

    At the doctor's instruction, Pellegrin doubled up on the dose initially, but his finger still showed no significant improvement by Wednesday morning.

    "My wife was worried, and I was starting to worry, so I went to the urgent care," Pellegrin said. "When the nurse practitioner came in, she said, 'We can't do anything for you. We're going to refund whatever you've been charged. You need to see an orthopedic surgeon right now.'"

    The nurse practitioner made the appointment for Pellegrin, and instructed him to go to the doctor immediately. When he arrived, Pellegrin said the office staff wouldn't even let him fill out the paperwork. The doctor saw him right away, and diagnosed the condition as flexor tenosynovitis, an inflammation of the tendon inside of its sheath. In mild cases, the malady may be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but Pellegrin's doctor said his would required surgery.

    He was prepped on Wednesday, and the surgery was performed Thursday.

    Pellegrin awoke from the procedure in intense discomfort.

    "The nurse said, 'Are you in pain?' I said, 'Pain is not the word for it. On a scale from 1-10, this is a 20+,'" Pellegrin recounted.

    After two shots of morphine and a shot of Dilaudid, Pellegrin was still in agony, so the nurse called in an anesthesiologist, who injected nerve blockers into Pellegrin's finger. Finally, that provided him some relief, he said.

    Pellegrin had to spend two more days in the hospital, and as of Monday morning, was convalescing at home. He'll get the sutures out Wednesday, and hopes to fish on Thursday, although he acknowledges that might be a long shot. Pellegrin must remain on antibiotics for three months.

    "All the doctors and nurses had stories about people losing their fingers from this," he said. "They said they see it all the time."

    That being the case, Pellegrin wants other anglers to know what to do if they get any type of puncture or cut while fishing.

    "There are two things you can have on a boat that will aid in case something like this happens," he said. "One is a pump sprayer with a solution of bleach and water -- not so much bleach that it gives you a chemical burn, but enough to kill anything, and the other is a bottle of Betadine."

    Either can be applied to the wound, and can help ensure it never gets infected in the first place, Pellegrin said.

    If the wound is still bothersome after the fishing trip, soak it in epsom salt, and if it worsens at all, call a doctor, Pellegrin recommended.

    "All the doctors I talked to said that's the way to go," he said.

    The doctors also told Pellegrin the fast action he took with the treatment protocol is the reason he still has his finger today.
    Nocatfish and Metrolobster like this.
  2. shrimpmansteve

    shrimpmansteve Carpenter

    I have had fish handlers diesese from a fin sticking me. Massive infection. Lotsa antibiotics did it for me. I was aware of this condition so went to the dr. As soon as infection showed it's ugly head. Nothing to take lightly
  3. lobsterman

    lobsterman Seaman Recruit

    Good information. I am going to get this on the boat. After a couple days of fishing your hands can get pretty sore.
  4. Might have to borrow some Betadine from work, just in case!
  5. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    You should see my handy during shrimping seasion, and when out catching bait and fishing. Looks like I should have Betadine in my First aid kits. Nice Post.

    Fishing First Aid Kits

    Shrimping Equipment / Gear to have on your boat

    Offshore Must Haves

    Fishing equipment to have onboard

  6. seadawg

    seadawg Treasure Hunter

    I got poked by a catfish this spring, treated it very quickly, looks like I dodged the bullet. Will take water injuries even more serious now!
  7. Joseph Warga

    Joseph Warga Cabin Boy

    all good intel..thanks ..
  8. Pj s hotrod

    Pj s hotrod Cabin Boy

    Thanks for the great info,didn't know that could happen
  9. Fishfinder

    Fishfinder Blackbeard

    I use gloves most of the time when I land a fish but I will take more care with the shrimp for sure. Thanks
  10. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

  11. mak

    mak Matey

    Great info and good to know. Will get some of that Betadine on my shopping list.

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