Oregon boy dies after short battle with flesh eating bacteria

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 00:24:34-05

Ask anyone that knew him, 8-year-old Liam Flanagan was full of life.

More than anything he loved playing with all of the animals on his parents farm in Pilot Rock, Oregon.

"That kid could not walk into the room without making a friend,” said Sara Hebard, Liam’s mother.

But everything began to change when earlier this month Sara got a call saying that Liam had taken a tumble on his bike and gashed his leg. He ended up with seven stitches. 

Doctors at the E.R. sent Liam on his way. He was back to school by Tuesday.

"He complained that it hurt but he'd never had stitches before. He’d never had that extensive of a wound,” explained Sara.

Sara said she gave him Tylenol and everything seemed well, but the next day she got a call from school saying that Liam was crying and complaining about the pain. 

She again gave him some Tylenol but by that night he started complaining again. That’s when her husband Scott pulled the bandage off of the stitches to have a look.

"He yelled it looks like he's got gangrene. We have to go to the emergency room now,” said Sara.

They took Liam to the emergency room and when doctors had a look at Liam they immediately took him in for surgery. 

"They cut out the area where that wound was and basically they told us they were not a big enough hospital to deal with what he had,” said Sara.

Liam had caught necrotizing fasciitis or more commonly called flesh eating bacteria.

They believe the infection came from the soil and entered Liam’s body through the cut he got while riding his bike.

An air ambulance took Liam to a children’s hospital in Portland for another surgery, but the bacteria kept spreading making the pain unbearable to Liam.

"He would go to sleep and then just wake up screaming because it was so bad,” said Sara.

After yet another surgery failed to stop the bacteria and ease Liam’s pain the family decided to keep him sedated.

"They highly suggested we not extend his suffering anymore,” said Sara.

Shortly after Liam passed away. Now Sara is on a mission to spread awareness of the flesh eating bacteria that took away the life of her baby boy.

“There is no outward signs of it until it’s too late,” said Sara.

She now believes Liam was put on this earth and taken away for quickly for a reason. 

"That’s what I have to keep believing that he was just too good to be here and he is going to make a difference in what he was and it will save lives,” said Sara.

Sara hopes that by raising awareness, more research will be done on this mysterious bacteria to prevent others from suffering the same fate.