Marine bluebottle washed up on Emerald Beach.31 August 2014.Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
Marine bluebottle washed up on Emerald Beach.31 August 2014.Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

GRAPHIC: Bluebottle almost costs dad his leg


A FAMILY holiday on the Coffs Coast almost cost a father of five his leg.

On New Year's Day, John Atkin, of Guyra, took his children to the beach and was stung by a blue bottle.

The sting caused intense pain and the bottom half of his leg blistered, turning purple and black. He was said to be in a critical condition and faced losing his leg.

To help cover the medical fees, a GoFundMe page was set up by Amanda Campbell last week.

Ms Campbell said John was admitted to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital, where doctors found he had contracted a vibrio vulnificus bacterial infection.

Vibrio vulnificus is a marine bacterium that can cause life-threatening infections. Infections are uncommon and usually mild but people with chronic diseases are at risk of a serious infection, according to Queensland Health.

Ms Campbell said John's infection continued to spread despite an operation and treatment with antibiotics during his 11-day stay in the Coffs hospital.

On January 14, John was rushed to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital to receive specialist treatment.

Ms Campbell said his infected leg had "enormous amounts" of dead tissue.

She said he had five operations to remove the dead tissue and rejuvenate nerves.

John Atkin contracted a Vibrio Vulnificus infection after he was stung by a blue bottle swimming at a Coffs beach.
SCARY: John Atkin contracted a bacterial infection after being stung by a bluebottle at a Coffs beach. gofundme

This week, John returned home.

His wife, Kylie, said on Facebook it had been a "scary, emotional, tiring month".

"Still a long way to go but the main thing (is) that he is here with us! Kids are so happy to have their daddy back and to have some sort of normality again!" Kylie said.

The GoFundMe page to "remove some of the financial burden this family currently is struggling with" carries a $5000 target. To donate, visit