Man says water near Indian River Lagoon made him sick, thought he would lose his arm to infection

Ended up in the hospital

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - A few weeks ago, Vince Grindle was hog hunting with friends in St. Lucie County and ended up in a canal that leads to the Indian River Lagoon.

A few days later, he had to go to the hospital.

"At first I thought it was a poison ivy thing because another buddy of mine had contracted it as well," said Grindle.


Grindle discovered he had a bacterial infection.

He posted pictures on Facebook and on a local Treasure Coast website.

"I was scared when I was told the infection was real bad.  Thought possibly something could get worse, if it didn't get any better I could lose an arm," said Grindle.

Doctors couldn't say for sure that the infection was from the water, but Grindle says all three of his buddies were handling the hogs, and the one who didn't go in the water, didn't have any problems.

This week, the Martin County Health Department collected algae samples from 7 locations in the St. Lucie Estuary and sent them off to a state lab.

Environmental Health Director Bob Washam said the concern is to see if that algae is toxic.

"Getting that water into the mouth that could cause diarrhea, vomiting or getting it onto their skin it could cause skin rashes," said Washam.

With the recent health advisories, organizers of the Indian River Triathlon taking place this weekend have moved the swimming portion of the race from the Stuart Causeway area to the ocean at Jensen Beach.

It's the latest instance of what's turning out to be a difficult summer for water lovers who live here.

Jody Goodale moved to Palm City two years ago from the other side of Martin County, so she could live on the water.

Now, she's having second thoughts.

Over the weekend, she began noticing this green algae lapping up along her seawall.  She also cleared away a lot of dead fish.

"It's sad because the porpoise and the tarpon and the bait fish haven't been here in forever," said Goodale.

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