Rare Flesh-Eating Bacteria Kills 8-Year-Old Oregon Boy

Christian LundhFlickr / Cropped and Resized

It was a normal day on January 13 for 8-year-old Liam Flanagan, who was playing on his bicycle in the driveway of his home in Pilot Rock, Oregon. He has done this so many times that his mother never thought that it would cost him his life.

The boy’s mom, Sara Hebard, 37, believed that it was only a minor injury when he crashed into the dirt while playing on his bike. Liam Flanagan staggered down the hill causing him to fall off his bicycle and its handle cut past his trousers. Unfortunately, his thigh had a grave laceration, and his parents took him to the emergency immediately after the accident.

According to Mrs. Hebard, Liam Flanagan received seven stitches to seal the laceration in his thigh and the doctors sent him home, thinking he would be fine. His mom said that the physicians didn’t give him antibiotics because it was only a minor injury, and just like any other small wound, the doctors were looking forward to his fast recovery. The second-grader kept complaining for days that his wound was painful, but his mom told People that she thought it was normal for the boy to complain, especially since it was the first time for him to get stitches.

“Even though this is my worst nightmare, I want to believe his death had a reason, it had a purpose. Maybe it’s to save other’s lives, because no one deserves to go through what we went through. Hold your babies tight and listen to them. Just pay attention, and don’t just pass things off as if things will be okay.”

Scott Hinkle, the boy’s step-father, gave him Tylenol to alleviate the pain he was feeling since he received stitches to seal his wound from the accident. Unfortunately, Liam Flanagan felt more pain, and his parents found out that there was an extreme discoloration in the affected area. They figured the boy had gangrene, which is a condition when body tissue dies. His parents brought him to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery in an attempt to get rid of the infected body tissue.

The infection was already severe and the doctors had to act upon it. They amputated more of the second-grader’s body in a hope to stop the infection, and his mom said that the doctors believe they had controlled the infected area. From there, the physicians learned that Liam Flanagan, who his mom describes as a “ray of sunshine,” had a rare flesh-eating bacteria called Necrotizing Fasciitis.

The physicians believed that the Necrotizing Fasciitis managed to make its way to the young boy’s body through the deep laceration that he got from the bike accident. Liam Flanagan fell on the dirt, where the flesh-eating bacteria came from, causing him to suffer this horrific illness. The bacteria can be controlled if it is treated immediately, but for the boy, it wasn’t the case. The doctors said the infection started from his ankle to his armpit, and they did everything to save him.

On January 21, Liam Flanagan lost the battle against the terrifying flesh-eating bacteria. His death is only one of those 600 to 1,200 Americans who were diagnosed with the same infection.