It seemed like no big deal. Eight-year-old Liam Flanagan fell off his bike on the family farm in Pilot Rock, Oregon, and suffered a gash on his thigh from the handlebars, recounts People. It was serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER, where Liam got seven stitches, but everybody involved figured that was the end of it. Except Liam kept complaining of pain in the ensuing days, and when Tylenol didn't help, his parents discovered that his thigh and groin had become severely discolored. Doctors now think flesh-eating bacteria entered Liam's wound from the dirt when he fell, and a series of amputations at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland failed to stem its advance. He died after an eight-day fight.
“Almost his whole right side was gone,” mom Sara Hebard tells the East Oregonian. “They kept cutting and hoping. Cutting and hoping.” Hebard says she hopes her son's death raises awareness for other parents about the symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis, including include fever, chills, fatigue, and vomiting, per USA Today. The infected area also may turn purple and be a source of chronic pain. “He said it hurt, but it was his very first accident, and he never had stitches before,” Hebard says of her son's first complaints. A GoFundMe page had raised about $40,000 as of Saturday. (Read more flesh-eating bacteria stories.)