Cop catches flesh eating disease while fishing

NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn has had to undergo eight surgeries to fight off a flesh eating disease. Picture: Supplied
NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn has had to undergo eight surgeries to fight off a flesh eating disease. Picture: Supplied

JASON Collingburn wants nothing more than to kick a soccer ball with his kids, but an ill-fated fishing trip has ripped that away from him.

Last May the senior constable, who is normally based at Palmerston, was seconded to work at Peppimenarti in the Daly River region.

During a day off he went fishing and tripped over a rock and grazed his right shin.

It was through the graze that he was infected with flesh-eating bacteria necrotising fasciitis.

"I thought I'd broke my toe and went to the clinic and got it cleaned up," he said.

But two days later he was in a bad way - shaking and vomiting.

Antibiotics did little to help and so he was flown by CareFlight to Royal Darwin Hospital where he went straight into surgery to remove blackened dead flesh.

"It was just eating away at my leg. The only way to get rid of it was to cut away the tissue," Sen Constable Collingburn said.

NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn watching his son Cooper, 11, at cricket practice. He has undergone six surgeries to fight off a flesh eating disease
NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn watching his son Cooper, 11, at cricket practice. He has undergone six surgeries to fight off a flesh eating disease


In just eight days he underwent five surgeries.

"It was something I thought only happened in the movies," he said.

Doctors in Darwin were unable to treat him any further despite his leg swelling and being unable to walk long distances.

He has decided to head to the Gold Coast for a second opinion, to see if more can be done to fix his leg and allow him to get back to work.

He currently only has 60 per cent use of his leg.

Queensland doctors will try to reconstruct his right ankle using part of his left thigh.

NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn's shin, the cut was the site where the flesh eating disease was able to infect him. He has had to undergo eight surgeries to fight it off. Picture: Supplied
NT Police officer Senior Constable Jason Collingburn's shin, the cut was the site where the flesh eating disease was able to infect him. He has had to undergo eight surgeries to fight it off. Picture: Supplied

He hopes the surgery will allow him to put the blue uniform back on again as well as play with his two kids Cooper, 11, and Mikaylah, 8.

"I've been told I'll never be able to kick a footy with my son and I can't walk down to the shops to get groceries," he said.

"We had kids while we were young so we could be active parents."

Sen Constable Collingburn is undergoing reconstructive surgery through private health and they are seeking support from the public to help cover the costs of the surgery and physiotherapy.

To support the family head to their GoFundMe page https://bit.ly/2Gd8S1k



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