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Bryan man fighting flesh eating disease
Terry Nielsen - photo by Photo provided.
A Bryan County volunteer firefighter is fighting for his life at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta with a serious medical condition, necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as the flesh eating disease.
Volunteer Firefighter Terry Nielsen was rushed to St.  Joseph’s Hospital in the early morning hours of Wednesday June 23, where he was diagnosed with the disease. After he was stabilized he was airlifted to the burn center where he faces months of skin grafts and rehabilitation.  Most of Nielsen’s upper torso has been ravaged by the disease.
Nielsen, a seven year veteran of the fire service and former state Rookie Firefighter of the Year, attended a training event earlier the previous evening and sustained a minor injury to the left arm. Later that night he began experiencing severe pain in that arm, nausea and a fever.  
Doctors were able to halt the spread of the virus but not before its devastating effects caused the loss of skin and muscle tissue to a large portion of his upper body. Nielsen remains in critical condition at the burn center undergoing daily surgeries to rebuild lost tissue.
“Terry’s condition has had an effect on everyone in the department” said Chief Mike Smith, the Bryan County Fire Department’s South Division chief.  “He is a dedicated member of our department, well liked, and works hard at every emergency scene, training event or function in the department.  I ask that everyone keep him and the family in their thoughts and prayers,” said Smith.
“The South Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation has been a tremendous help to the Nielsen family”, said Smith. “This organization is dedicated to helping burn victims in Georgia and deserves our thanks and support”.
The North and South Divisions of the Bryan County Fire Department along with the Richmond Hill Fire Department will be holding a blood drive and boot drive on Saturday, July 24, at the First Baptist Church and Kroger in Richmond Hill and at Harvey’s in Pembroke.  All proceeds of the boot drive will go to help the Nielsen Family in their time of need. Please mention Terry Nielsen when giving blood. He will receive credits toward his blood use at the burn center.

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