A local man is suing after he says he nearly lost his hands while filming a reality TV show in the Gulf of Mexico.

He's blaming the show for putting the "drama" ahead of his medical needs.

From the basketball court where he bonded with his three kids, to the job on oil rigs and shrimping boats, Eddy McHenry has always counted on his hands.

"If I had my hands, I can do anything and I never thought I would lose my hands." he said.

He lost his most valuable tool out in the Gulf of Mexico, filming the National Geographic reality TV show "Big Fish, Texas".

"We were just hauling fish in right and left, big fish," said McHenry.

Eddy McHenry 
Eddy McHenry 

But a couple days in, his hands started blistering and burning like never before. He says he asked to be taken to shore and expected a Coast Guard helicopter rescue.

"They'll come out, lift a basket and you go to the beach, quick as possible," he said.

Instead, he says he waited days for a slower boat ride back to shore, all caught on film.

"I was surprised to see there was another camera crew on that boat," said McHenry.

KHOU 11 News Reporter Alice Barr asked him, "Did you feel like they did something different in rescuing you than what you would have normally seen, because it was a reality TV show?"

"Yes ma'am, I do. I feel like they stretched it out," said McHenry. "I felt like the boat was taken over by the camera people and they were making people stage things, do this, do that."

By the time he made it to the hospital, McHenry's organs were shutting down from a powerful infection.

Now, it's six surgeries later and he's lost parts of several of his fingers.

Eddy McHenry lost several of his fingers after contracting a bacterial infection while filming the National Geographic reality show, "Big Fish Texas" in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Eddy McHenry lost several of his fingers after contracting a bacterial infection while filming the National Geographic reality show, "Big Fish Texas" in the Gulf of Mexico. 

"I can't work and I want to work,” said McHenry. “That's probably the hardest part about this is now, I can't support my family."

He's now suing National Geographic and Katie's Seafood Market, the Galveston fishing company he worked for.

"Mr. McHenry, Eddy as we like to call him, is not a TV character," said Ryan MacLeod, Attorney for Arnold & Itkin LLP, the firm representing McHenry in the suit. "A human being's well-fair should not be sacrificed for the sake of reality TV, for drama."

The consequences of McHenry's new reality last far beyond an hour of TV.

The owner's son at Katie's Seafood Market told KHOU 11 News they're sorry this happened, but couldn't say anything more because of the suit.

National Geographic has not responded to comment on the suit.