Oregon Child Dies From Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Falling Off His Bike

A couple of weekends ago, eight-year-old Liam Flanagan fell off his bike. The open wound on his thigh dripped with blood, and so his family took their son to the emergency room, reported the Associated Press. After receiving stitches, all seemed fine—until it didn't. His flesh was being eaten alive due to a bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis. 

Related: Deadly Oysters Kill Woman with Rumored 'Flesh-Eating' Bacteria

As the AP explained, Liam’s mother, Sara Hebard, and stepfather, Scott Hinkle, grew concerned on Wednesday when the boy complained of groin pain. Hinkle looked at Liam’s arm and instantly knew something was wrong.

"It was purplish-red and gangrenous looking," he said. "We threw him in the rig and went like hell."

The child had surgery at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton, Oregon. He was then relocated by an air ambulance to the Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Thursday, where doctors tried saving his life through amputation. "They basically cut him up piece by piece," Hinkle told the AP.

"Almost his whole right side was gone," Hebard said in the report. "They kept cutting and hoping. Cutting and hoping."

Liam, from Pilot Rock, Oregon, went through several surgeries to remove the affected soft tissue. But his condition worsened and he was transferred once again to another hospital. He died Sunday night.

Doctors believe he contracted the bacteria through soil that entered his open wound. Now, his parents want others to be extra cautious about typical childhood bang-ups and aware of flesh-eating bacteria.

"We don't want any other parents to go through this," Hinkle said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a skin infection that kills soft tissue. As it spreads very quickly, an accurate and timely diagnosis is key in combating the infection, along with antibiotics and surgery.

Though the condition is extremely rare, several types of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis including, group A Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Aeromonas hydrophila. Most medical professionals agree that the group A strep is the most common cause of the condition.

Earlier this week, a Phoenix woman was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease after initially being diagnosed with the flu, USA Today reported. She is believed to have recovered. Another case of necrotizing fasciitis made the news early in January after a woman died from contracting the bacteria through uncooked oysters.