A New Jersey fisherman who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing wants to “continue to fight for his life” rather than enter hospice care, his family said.
Angel Perez, a 60-year-old father, discovered the infection after he noticed swelling and growing pain in his right leg following a fishing trip in the waters off Matts Landing in the Maurice River on July 2.
Just a few hours later, he began breaking out in blisters and his family noticed scarring all over his body. They noticed that all four limbs had begun to swell and change color.
Perez’ family took him to the Cooper University Hospital where doctors have been working to save his life over the last month.
But while Perez’ condition continues to deteriorate, his family announced that instead of moving him to hospice care, as they originally planned, they will follow Perez’ wishes.
“Through the strength of prayer and the love of his family, Angel Perez decided that he will continue to fight for his life. Haydee and Dilena are looking into a long term care facility that can attend to Angel’s unique and growing needs and as he continues this battle with this infection,” the family wrote in an update on Perez’ GoFundMe page Saturday.
“As long as he feels strong and courageous to continue, then we are going to make his wishes be what they are," Perez’ daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, told NJ Advance Media.
While the family considered moving Perez to hospice care to keep him comfortable, they discovered he wouldn’t be able to receive dialysis for his kidneys.
"We weren’t aware of that. So we withdrew the choice of hospice and what we want to do is put him in a long-term care facility," Perez-Dilan said.
The family also thanked everyone for their support. “Angel, Haydee, Dilena and the entire Perez family want to thank everyone for the outpouring of thoughts, prayers and donations. It means the world to them especially during this difficult time,” the GoFundMe update said.
While Perez showed signs of improvement a couple weeks ago, his daughter said new infections have since emerged, causing gangrene to spread to both of his feet, hands and forearms.
Doctors believe that the Vibrio bacteria, which is often found in warmer waters where the river meets the sea, is behind his infection. The bacteria is more dangerous to those with compromised immune systems, like Perez, who has Parkinson’s disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating raw seafood or exposing open wounds to brackish or salt water can increase a person’s risk of contracting the bacterial infection.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.