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8-Year-Old Boy Dies from a Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Falling Off His Bike


It’s not uncommon for parents to fuss over their children’s scrapes and bruises. In most cases the solution is to kiss it better, dry the tears, and move on. But, for one eight-year-old boy, a scraped thigh led to something much worse when he developed a flesh-eating disease that ultimately led to his death.

8-Year-Old Boy Dies from a Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Falling Off His Bike

flesh eating diseaseLiam Flanagan, like any other eight-year-old child, liked to spend his time outdoors riding his bike. On January 13th, as he was riding down a hill close to his home in Spring Creek, Oregon, he tumbled off of his bike.

The handlebar cut through his jeans, and he was taken to the hospital for stitches. Everyone believed that that was the end of the pain.

But, days later, Liam was in excruciating pain and noticed a “purplish-red and gangrenous looking” swell on his groin. Upon going back to the hospital he was diagnosed with a deadly bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis.

Liam underwent four major operations at three different hospitals, in an attempt to cut out the infection.

flesh eating disease


‘They basically cut him up piece by piece[1],’ said his father, Scott.

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His mother, Sara, adds ‘Almost his whole right side was gone. They kept cutting and hoping. Cutting and hoping[1].’

After four days of this, the infection was deemed to be too aggressive, and Liam passed away.

flesh eating bacteriaThe last time that Sara and Scott spoke to their son was on the phone just before he died.

‘I told him to be strong and that he’d be OK,’ Scott said. ‘He said he missed me[1].’

Now, Liam’s parents want to educate others on the dangers of flesh-eating bacteria, so that other families don’t have to go through the same experiences as they did.


The Dangers of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Dr. Robert Bradsher of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences explains necrotizing fasciitis in the following 2-minute clip: 

Necrotizing fasciitis is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. It can be deadly in a very short amount of time and requires immediate medical intervention once diagnosed. Between the years of 2003-2013, there have been a total of 9871 deaths due to necrotizing fasciitis in the United States[2].

These bacteria infect the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels (also known as the fascia), but the infection also damages the tissue around the fascia. Sometimes toxins that are made by the bacteria destroy the tissue that they infect[3]. When this happens the infection is very serious and the patient can lose limbs or die.

Symptoms of Necrotizing Fasciitis

People with necrotizing fasciitis often start experiencing symptoms within a few hours of receiving an injury[3]. The symptoms may at first seem like another illness or injury, but those with necrotizing fasciitis often describe their pain as severe, and much worse than what it should be based on the appearance of the wound.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting

How Do You Contract Necrotizing Fasciitis?


The necrotizing fasciitis bacteria enters the body through an opening, such as a wound. In general, the bacteria is not spread through people, and it can often occur randomly[3]. However, people with other health problems that lower the body’s ability to fight infection are more likely to contract it[3].

The best course of action to prevent this terrible disease is to learn as much as you can about the disease and to treat all wounds efficiently.

Preventing This Deadly Disease

Common sense and good wound care is the best way to protect yourself and your family from this terrible infection. Make sure to always:

  1. Keep open wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed
  2. Don’t delay first aid, even with the most minor or wounds
  3. Avoid spending time in pools, hot tubs, or natural bodies of water if you have an open wound
  4. Wash hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of bacteria

Nobody wants to see their loved one suffering. While necrotizing fasciitis is a rare disease, it can affect anyone, regardless of age or background. Properly caring for wounds, and educating yourself on the risks of infection will bring you one step closer to keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy.




[2] Arif N, Yousfi S, Vinnard C. (2016, Ap.). Deaths from Necrotizing Fasciitis in the United States, 2003-2013. Retrieved from

[3] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, July 3). Necrotizing Fasciitis. Retrieved from

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