When eight-year-old Liam Flanagan crashed his bike, it seemed that all he needed were a few stitches from the doctor and a little TLC from Mom. No one suspected anything else.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” said Sara Hebard, his mom. “It wasn’t a bad one. It just needed a few stitches is all, that’s it. And he was taking it like a trooper.”
But only a few days after the second-grader took his fall on the driveway of his family’s farm in Pilot Rock, Oregon, he mentioned that his pain seemed to be getting worse. Hebard gave him Tylenol.
Yet the aches continued. So Hebard took her son back to the hospital. What she found shocked her terribly. Bacteria had spread from Flanagan’s ankle to his armpit, according to Fox News.
“There was a complication with the incision,” said Hebard on a GoFundMe page meant to help raise money for medical expenses. “He was rushed in for emergency surgery to remove some infected tissue.”
Doctors scrambled to remove as much of the infected tissue as they could, but it wasn’t enough. In a last-ditch effort, a team of medical personnel airlifted him to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, hoping to stop the spread.
On Sunday, Flanagan died. Even after undergoing several surgeries, it wasn’t enough to stop necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that targets soft tissue, from taking over his vital organs.
According to the CDC, necrotizing fasciitis is considered “a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue.” Though it’s very rare to contract, it can spread through infections such as group A strep, among others.
The most susceptible to it are persons with weakened immune systems, such as those suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, cancer or “other chronic health conditions that weaken the body’s immune system.”
So how to prevent it? The best line of defense is to keep wounds clean and freshly bandaged, and to avoid pools, hot tubs, lakes, etc. if suffering from an open sore. If infected, antibiotics can rapidly kill the bacteria, but it is vital to seek treatment right away.
In the wake of her son’s death, Hebard said, “I would have to say for one, hug your children tight because you never know how quickly it goes, and then to pay attention to them and don't just take for granted it could just be a simple accident. And to spread awareness because people don't know. I had never even heard of this before.”
Please pray for the family of Liam Flanagan in this difficult time of loss. In recent news, a major update was announced after the wife of Chuck Norris was poisoned.