An 8-year-old Oregon boy has reportedly died days after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria from falling off his bike.
Sara Hebard told People that her son, Liam, was bicycling outside their Pilot Rock home on January 13 when he fell. During the fall, the handlebar tore through his jeans and left a sizeable laceration on his thigh.
The family immediately took the 8-year-old to the emergency room, where doctors gave him seven stitches and released him.
But things took a dark turn several days after the ER visit.
The East Oregonian reported that Liam likely contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria, from soil that came into contact with his wound. The boy reportedly complained of groin pain on January 17 and his stepfather, Scott Hinkle, recalled being horrified by what he saw.
“It was purplish-red and gangrenous looking,” he told the paper. “We threw him in the rig and went like hell.”
Liam reportedly underwent surgery at St. Anthony Hospital. From there, Liam and his mother were airlifted Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, where the little boy had multiple parts of his body amputated in hopes of combating the devastating infection.
“They basically cut him up piece by piece,” his stepfather said.
Sara told People that doctors continued to work diligently to get a handle on the aggressive bacteria–which had spread from his ankle to armpit.
“The pain was so bad that he was screaming,” Hebard says. “It’s horrific. It is a horrific torture, that’s what it is.”
“The last things I got to hear from my son was him screaming because it hurt so bad.”
Liam was sedated and placed on life support before being transferred to Randall Children’s Hospital on January 21. It was there where doctors quickly determined that there was nothing else that could be done. He died hours later.
Now, the grieving mother says she committed to informing others of symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis, which include vomiting, fever, and fatigue. Sara noted that a significant warning sign is if a cut or wound is more painful than expected.
“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 others’ lives–because no one deserves to go through what we went through,” Hebard tearfully told the magazine.
“Hold your babies tight and listen to them. Just pay attention, and don’t just pass things off as if things will be okay.”
[Featured Image: Liam Hebard/GoFundMe]