Articles, Blog

This Man Was Almost Eaten Alive By “Flu”, Now A Tattoo Has Changed His Life Forever

October 24, 2019

It’s a sad reality of life that sometimes
the most innocuous of ailments can turn out to be something a lot more serious. Now that the summer is well and truly upon
us, people around the world are being urged to heed the advice of experts and stay well
clear of tanning oil. To emphasize this point, the headlines have
been littered with stories of people whose seemingly innocent spots turned out to be
skin cancer. However, few people realize that it’s not
just obvious dangers like the sun that can threaten our lives. In fact, it can be something as simple as
a common complaint that we can all attest to having multiple times: the cold. For one man, a cold cost him his lips and
all his limbs back in December 2013 – a time of year when most of us would brush off
the illness as nothing more than a side effect of the weather. Thirty-eight-year-old Alex Lewis’ horrific
ordeal began back in November 2013. He claims he had flu symptoms for about two
weeks and then one night discovered blood in his urine. Needless to say, this was the first sign that
something was seriously wrong. Prior to falling ill, the 38-year-old had
been a pub landlord with a fiancée and young son, who had absolutely everything to live
for. The day after discovering blood in his urine,
Alex’s condition deteriorated further. His limbs had started to turn purple and he
had difficulty moving. Lewis was rushed to the hospital where doctors
discovered he was suffering from much more than the flu. Lewis had contracted a very rare Strep A Group
A Streptococcal Infection, which was progressing to toxic shock syndrome, septicemia, and necrotizing
fasciitis – or, in other words, he was suffering from a deadly flesh-eating disease. The odds of contracting this are slimmer than
winning the lottery. Within hours, his condition deteriorated as
the bacteria took over. He was placed in intensive care and would
undergo multiple surgeries to control the spread of the infection. “I was in intensive care for six or seven
weeks and was having surgery every other day,” Lewis told the Daily Mail. “Basically, the infection is trying to get
to your heart through your body. It starts in your fingertips, your toes and
your nose.” While the odds of the infection progressing
to the extent that it did in Alex are slim, the infection itself is shockingly common: Lewis’s legs turned black within only a
few days and his family was told to say their goodbyes. Doctors performed amputations of all four
of his limbs as well as his lips, but it was not a guarantee of survival. Lewis’s infection was severe and he is extremely
lucky to have lived. Necrotizing fasciitis, or the flesh-eating
disease, is caused by a bacteria that can enter the body through a small cut or scrape. Early symptoms include small red bumps on
the skin, sweating, chills, nausea, fever, and rapidly spreading bruising. Shock and organ failure will follow this. The bacteria release toxins that kill healthy
tissue and doctors must use strong courses of antibiotics and well as surgery to remove
the dead flesh to control the infection. There are between 500 and 1500 cases reported
each year and approximately 25% of these cases are fatal. While Lewis did survive, he was left with
life-altering amputations and a long road to recovery. One concern was that because his lips were
cut away, he was left with a gaping hole over his mouth. He had a temporary flap of skin placed over
the hole but it was not a long-term solution. “It would take me about an hour to eat a
sandwich at night, and that was with the help of the nurse,” Lewis said. Now, in a world-first procedure, Lewis has
had skin taken from his shoulder to reconstruct both his upper and lower lips at the same
time. The skin from his shoulder was chosen because
it had not previously been used for grafting and was not scarred or damaged by the bacteria. Surgeons used naturally fattier tissue for
his lips while thinning out the other skin over time so that it better blended into this
face. It took multiple operations, but Lewis is
now able to use his mouth, seal his lips, and has a better function for speech, eating,
drinking, and oral hygiene. While his new lips may not ever match the
ones he lost, some innovative tattooing has helped them to look natural. Tattoo artist Karen Betts worked for free
to tattoo red coloring onto Lewis’s lips, as well as add freckles and stubble marks
to make the grafted skin appear more like the rest of his face. The results are impressive and have helped
Lewis regain his confidence. Perhaps most impressive is that this reconstruction
has helped Lewis regain the connection he had lost with his son, Sam, who was just three-years-old
when Lewis became ill. Sam was traumatized by what had happened and
had a difficult time adjusting. “He was so scared he wouldn’t even come
up to me to hug me. He knew it was daddy, but he couldn’t work
out what was wrong,” Lewis said. He continued, “We had this amazing bond
before I fell ill – we were inseparable – but it was cut immediately. I never thought I’d get that back. It has taken a long, long time to get back
to where we were but we are now and we have been for six months.” Lewis, along with his now wife Lucy and his
son, Sam, who is now seven, now runs the Alex Lewis Trust, which is hoping to raise money
for quality prosthetics. Lewis isn’t letting life slow him down,
and since his illness, he has skydived, kayaked, and has plans to handcycle Ethiopia’s tallest
mountain. We wish Alex and his family all the best.


  • Reply Social Media Sweet Talk July 23, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    im overjoyed for them all

  • Reply Naomi Marcelle August 6, 2018 at 12:07 am


  • Reply Chris August 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Alex Lewis was given a second chance by God. He’s doing really good now and I’m glad for him.

  • Reply Jhobany Sánchez August 20, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Eres un Guerro Alex y un ejemplo de vida.
    Dios te bendiga

  • Reply Creativi October 5, 2018 at 1:33 am

    I feel so bad for him. I wish he never god this STUPID infection or whatever. God bless him

  • Reply jase n jo jase n jo October 13, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Robotic voice ffs

  • Reply Miss Debra December 28, 2018 at 12:58 am

    WHY A FAKE VOICE???!!!

  • Reply LukeTheCanadian January 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

    These channels copy and paste things they find on websites and use a robotic voice in a video

  • Reply Suelly Admin January 14, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Porquê não colocou um tradutor pra traduzir este vídeo!

  • Reply ANGIULEDDA100 January 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I feel much esteem and admiration for this brave man who has chosen to fight his evil to be near his family …. he could have lowered his head and surrendered but fought for love …… I wish every good and every nice thing to this fantastic man and his family

  • Reply Sonja Mitrovic January 24, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Alex is hero for me.God bless him and his gorgeous family.

  • Reply t s January 26, 2019 at 1:56 am

    How do your ruin an amazing tale of fighting a nightmare, yet coming out strong because of love?? With a terrible robotic voice!! A typed narrative with soft music would have been 1000x better!!
    May their little family always have love!!
    Is there a way to donate to them? I know I'm not alone in wanting to help them financially. Much admiration from northern Indiana, USA

  • Reply Jinky Egca January 26, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Speedy recovery for u Alex God bless u? god is good ..

  • Reply i Gaudion January 28, 2019 at 6:43 am

    This guy is awesome. And he looks great actually!

  • Reply Dick Watson February 1, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Alex you are an inspiration to all those people who have had misfortunes due to medical incidents ,and your wife Lucy is the most wonderful caring woman

  • Reply Colossal7 February 5, 2019 at 4:49 am

    I only came here for the tattoo…

  • Reply Cynthia Hawkins March 1, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    A Brit-bot? Female.. For a human interest story as moving as this one. Anybody else disgusted? Ugh.

  • Reply kaleidoscope. March 16, 2019 at 7:44 am

    I'm so glad that he's doing okay ♥

  • Reply daniel bell April 5, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    It is Alex Lewis,Lucy and sam

  • Reply Peanut and jelly the ginuea pigs April 12, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Not true

  • Reply Vlql Vlql May 28, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Nothing but respect

  • Reply CHEMICAL X33 June 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    not only the tattoo should be heard instead of a remedy that stops it no we saw everything away and the condition stays … and of course vaccinations and junk food and drink all have to do with it not only the tattoo .. .but it is easier for them to blame than to tell the truth

  • Reply Mary Hernandez June 13, 2019 at 3:08 pm


  • Reply Shaz Dave July 21, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Wow the tattoo to his lips has made a huge difference. It all blends into his face now. Good job whoever did it. If he ever wanted arm/hand transplant I hope you gets it. Even one hand would make his life easier

  • Reply BLACKY August 8, 2019 at 8:31 am


  • Reply christie osborne August 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    You are a hero, and so is your wonderful family. Bless you always

  • Reply Edie Pendlebury September 8, 2019 at 2:40 am

    Why this voice tho

  • Reply Vickii Monroe September 18, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Where’s the tattoo?? I’m confused. That picture with his lips was an old picture not a current one.. right??

  • Reply VicRules666 September 20, 2019 at 1:04 am

    Homer Simpson

  • Reply Gaurav Shinde September 30, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Looking at this video … I realize how fortunate I have been to have Everything in life..
    You don't know when things could take an ugly turn . Please count your blessings and always be grateful for everything.

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