Liam Flanagan

An 8-year-old Oregon boy died days after doctors amputated most of his limbs in a desperate bid to halt the progression of deadly flesh-eating bacteria.

Liam Flanagan, a second-grader from Spring Creek, contracted the flesh-eating bacteria after crashing his bike while riding down a hill near his family home on Saturday Jan. 13.

Liam suffered a gash in his groin area that required stitches to close. Several days later, he complained of excruciating pain in his leg. His mother Sara Hebard and stepfather Scott Hinkle examined the area and were shocked to see an inflamed growth on his groin.

Scott said he couldn't believe his eyes. "It was purplish-red and gangrenous looking," he told a reporter. 'We threw him in the rig and went like hell."

Liam was admitted to St. Anthony Hospital where doctors diagnosed him with necrotizing fasciitis, a deadly bacterial infection caused by common bacteria normally found in soil (Streptococcus, E-coli, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, etc.).

Dotors spent hours cutting away flesh to remove the dead skin (debridement) and Liam was given intravenous antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

The bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin then spreads quickly, burrowing under the skin and flesh and feeding voraciously on the fascia, the thin fibrous lining covering the muscle and nerves.

The bacteria reproduces quickly and moves like wildfire. It is a race against time for doctors to save the victims.

Death can occur in 3 days if the infection is not halted. Often doctors are forced to cut away pounds of flesh and muscle to stop the infection.

Running out of options, doctors transferred Liam to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland early Thursday morning, and Sara followed him there. Scott stayed behind to care for their other sons at home.

At the hospital, doctors cut away more flesh and muscle from the bone as the infection spread down Liam's right leg. Eventually the decision was made to amputate his right leg and then his right arm as the infection spread.

"They basically cut him up piece by piece," Scott said.

"Almost his whole right side was gone," Sara said. "They kept cutting and hoping. Cutting and hoping."

Scott said he last spoke with Liam by phone on Friday.

"I told him to be strong and that he'd be OK," Scott said. "He said he missed me."

On Sunday, Liam was transferred to a 3rd hospital, Randall Children's Hospital, also in Portland.

He died hours later.

Liam's distraught parents wonder if they had listened to their son earlier and taken him back to the hospital when he complained of pain, they might have saved him.

They thought his pain and discomfort was a normal part of the healing process.
Necrotizing fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis affects 0.4 to 1 person per 100,000 per year. Both sexes are affected equally but the disease is more common among Caucasians.
Signs and symptoms

Symptoms begin within hours of infection and progressively worsens if not treated quickly. In the early stages, the skin is red and swollen. As the infection spreads the skin becomes purple and black -- a sign of necrosis (flesh death).

  • Intense, excruciating pain in the affected area
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Blisters
  • Reddish-purple discoloration
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weakness, fatigue

    Diagnostic tests include blood work, Computed tomography (CT scan), and MRI.


    The disease can be prevented by washing with soap and water and giving good wound care immediately after the skin is broken.


    Surgical debridement (cutting away affected tissue) and intravenous antibiotics (piperacillin/tazobactam, vancomycin, and clindamycin), and Hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    More Info On the Web

    Necrotizing Fasciitis - CDC

    Necrotizing Fasciitis - Medscape

    Is Necrotizing Fasciitis Infectious? eMedicine Health


    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

    • Kanyade

      Mercy! That poor child. "cutting and hoping". Lord.

    • tintin

      wow this is so sad. something so simple can cause death. my son's fallen off his bike before.Now we have to make sure that what ever he falls on does not have anything deadly

    • Renee26

      Sounds like the place he went to to get stitches is at fault...they must not have cleaned the wound properly before sewing him up....or maybe he went home and laid in a filthy environment....either way it's sad

    • Renee26

      Just wash the wounds properly and disinfect them...alcohol, peroxide, with hazel....something

    • Renee26

      Both sexes are affected equally but the disease is more common among Caucasians.

      Cause a lot of them swim in lakes, rivers, and ponds all the time and don't wash properly or often... if you watch reality tv shows look at the bottom of their feet...a lot of them are nasty and unclean

    • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

      So, Sandra, it was a staph infection???????????
      Whatever it was, this is a heartbreaking story, and my heart goes out to this baby for his suffering, smh. His parents as well because they had no way of knowing, adn now their child is gone. This is absolutely horrific. Mercy, mercy, mercy.

    • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

      i'm sitting here welling up just reading it... this is one of those posts i usually open but close QUICKLY.

    • Alicia.Ashe

      Sad my condolences to the family

    • You Could Never

      I read this last night. This broke my heart. RIP to the little boy and God bless his fam

    • Phillybruh

      Poor kid, hope he's resting peacefully.

    • WutizstillHERE!

      So sad RIP lil one...

    • Dahl

      This just made me so sad. Poor baby, and his poor parents...

    • Shira Harding-James

      I wonder if he got the staph infection from the hospital? or maybe they didn’t clean it well enough?

    • JRock

      Rest in heaven little lamb. All is better better now.

    • ShWa

      So so sad, rip precious.

    • BadAss Will

      Man this heart my heart....

    • sunni_daze

      So many babies dying, this hurts my heart . Rest easy young man

    • bemetoo

      damn cutting and hoping ...the butchered that child

    • ReadingIsFundamental4Real

      Poor baby.

    • starbright9449


    • deadellamore heart goes out to his family! Rest little angel, no more pain.

    • SweetTEE

      So moms ex stepped on a nail at work and 3 days later he died from mrsa.

    • Nathan Hastings


    • Rayne

      Ump ump ump...that’s so sad.

    • Trace da Ace

      Bless this little angle and his sad. I pray that I never have to go through something like that with my kids.

    • Ni Ni

      These deadly bacteria deaths are happening more frequently. I know the hospital where i live has a bad reputation for improperly providing care and people have caught bacteria infections, hepatitis, and died. I prefer to drive out instead of going there.RIP.

      Oan, I'm laid up sick again. I walked through a least three people's coughs not the other day. I tried my best to hold my breath, it didn't work. I cant understand grown folks not covering their mouth, teachers and students. I was out for a week a couple months ago already.

    • Guess Who

      OMG, freak accident and terrible death. Poor baby. I cannot imagine what his parents are going through.

    • A D N

      Can't imagine his appearance at the funeral with all the missing limbs. Sad story.

    • Kim’s Original Face

      OMG.....this is so heartbreaking! prayers for this baby and his family

    • Parents were neglectful

      Hell yes they should have listened to him earlier and taken him back to the hospital. What do they mean they checked his groin area and were shocked at what they found. That’s YOUR child. He had a groin accident so you should have been checking it everyday regardless. What were they trying to do, protect his privacy??? He’s 8. These parents are idiots. They sound neglectful. If they were black, everybody would be blaming them.

    • Look@m3

      People just nasty that's why I try my best to stay in as much as I can during the winter. I'm about to pull my child out of swimming until this season ends. I cant trust anyone, professionals too, they nasty as well!

    • Look@m3

      wondering the same thing...this was a odd read! You fall off a bike and get a deadly infection? IDK....very strange.

    • kre

      They didn't know, it's not their fault. It's easy for you to say, this didn't happen to u. So sad this story

    • Ni Ni

      I don't blame you.

    • Parents were neglectful

      It is their fault. Children, especially little boys, are nasty. They should have been inspecting and cleaning that area daily regardless then they would have known something was wrong. Even if they’re just nasty, they still should have listened to him when he said he was in pain and discomfort. If he had any of those symptoms, common sense should have told the parents to take him to the doctor. They were neglectful.


      They shouldn't have kept transferring him to different hospitals. This was a serious emergency and no time should be wasted. Smh

    • SpiceGirl

      dang you made a screen name just to fit the story? #toomuchtimeonyourhands

    • You’re a dumbass

      How bout that..

    • SpiceGirl

      I see what you did there : }...but still IMHO....must be board

    • Holler If Ya Hear Me

      Heartbreaking. These doctors have no love and treat people like experiments. Rest in heaven little angel. ??

    • Coy little wink

      Omg this is so very sad...

      I read about a girl who got this after zip lining and crashing into rocks in a stream....she lost 2 limbs

      Its not a staph infection its much worse

    • T3

      Wow, so rare! This is so sad..........

    • Anunnaki

      ?very sad .

    • SweetTEE

      That happened to me at my new job. Some nasty white woman kept walking past everyone coughing and not covering her mouth...for days!! I started being obnoxious about it due to the supervisor beside me being 8 months pregnant...we ALL were sick for a week. I roll my eyes at her everyday now..nasty mofo.

    • SweetTEE

      smh..can you imagine what was going through that poor childs mind? I hate to hear about kids suffering

    • Crazy tee

      Vancomycin is the strongest and last resort antibiotic out there...if that antibiotic don’t work then the outlook is grim...

    • Meme

      Very very sad RIP to the little one. Out of curiosity plz could a tetanus shot inthe wound have helped or no?

    • Ni Ni

      Smh, they need to start writing nasty folks up for that and not washing hands after using the bathroom.

    • Shaylove1975

      Man.....i see how there is a deadly strain of the flu too. That was released it didn't just show up.

    • TheOwley

      What the doctors did was medically necessary. The decision to amputate is decisive and without hesitation if you want to save a life. He fell from his bike on January 13 and in 13 days gone. Rip to Liam.

      There is a lot of medical education going on for the general population and now care of wounds (self and medical folks) regardless of size and cause is included because we are losing our ability to ward of common bacterial infections. In the past, debridement and antibiotics would have taken care of things. No more. He got top of the line antibiotics and still did not work.

    • NicoleZee

      Where are people getting all this flesh eating bacteria from??? My goodness. So sad for this little boy's family. No parent should have to bury a child. Bacteria are everywhere, no one is safe no matter how clean you keep yourself. So very sad.

    • R Smith

      I'm sure it will be a closed casket.

    • SandraRose

      No, because the bacteria that causes Tetanus is just one of the flesh eating bacteria. Tetanus causes lock jaw.

    • SandraRose

      It actually is a staph infection. It's just rare that staph causes flesh-eating disease.

    • SandraRose

      They kept transferring him because their desperate efforts to save him weren't working. Those doctors probably never saw a case of necrotizing fasciitis before.

    • Meme

      Thanks for the reply. So tetanus could not have helped that is really scary

    • SandraRose

      It could have been caused by any of the bacteria that I listed in my post, including staph. The handlebar of the bike cut his groin and the bacteria entered his would when he fell on the ground.

    • SandraRose

      The bacteria is common bacteria found in soil. He cut his groin on the handlebar of the bike wen he crashed. The reason he got infected is probably because he had diabetes or his immune system was compromised. 10 kids could have crashed their bikes in that same spot and not gotten infected.

    • Coy little wink

      Gotcha ?

    • SandraRose

      Or he contracted the bacteria when fell on the ground.

    • SandraRose

      Even if I have a paper cut, I wash the wound with soap and water, dry thoroughly, then apply antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid. I do not want to lose my hand.

    • SandraRose

      No. Tetanus shot vaccinates you against tetanus.

    • CaniLive?

      I’m so very sorry that child suffered through all that, rest in Heaven little man. Prayers for the family, I can only imagine...????

    • Gloria

      I'm actually in the healthcare field. The medical team seemed to have done everything medically appropriate to save this boy's life. Its very sad that he lost his life due to a fatal infection but please do no be insensitive and ignorant enough to blame the healthcare providers who have dedicated their life to help others. Thanks. :)

    • Holler If Ya Hear Me

      I’m entitled to comment whatever I’d like. I could only imagine having to watch my child get bits and pieces of his body taken from him.
      I said what I said I don’t care if you are in the medical field.

    • suganspice68

      Rest in peace,poor baby!

    • LaksFan

      Well I am going to be entitled as you as well. It was not an "experiment" to amputate a person with a deadly bacteria. Example, do you think it is an "experiment" to amputate a diabetic patient with gangrene in foot? You do not want to see the end result if you do not surgically remove an infected limb.

    • Holler If Ya Hear Me

      You are entitled to your opinion. I just don’t GAD about it. ?????

    • ?Royalty?

      My God? Rest with the angels little one.??

    • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

      Okay thanks Sandra. Horrific and sad.

    • Pamela

      Why are you lashing out at other people? It is so unnecessary. Have a great evening.

    • Holler If Ya Hear Me

      Lashing out on my own comment? Yeah, um no. It’s the others lashing out to my comment. But I said what I said which wasn’t even harsh. People welcome themselves to drama- I was minding my business. Goodnight.

    • Lady_Elle

      Rest in Peace Liam. So sorry... so scary.


      I'm just go stay my a$$ in the house that way I won't have to worry about contracting nothing.

      This is sooooooooo sad and horrible. Poor kid!!!! This is heartbreaking. Prayers for his family and those who loves him. ?

    • Allihave2say

      Auntie: I get that he sustained an injury and the doctor's akin it to the accident. The doctor's always tell daycare parents that every illness their children acquire came from daycare and never consider the many other social interactions the children have.

      I say this to ask if he could've possibly gotten the bacterial infection at the hospital during the stitching process?

    • flowerinthemoonlight

      Poor baby may he rest in peace

    • Peace&love2017


    • Patricia

      Lord have mercy. we were warned of increase of pestilences these final days leading up to the Lords return.

    • Hotfiyah

      Someone I knew died of this!