An 8-year-old boy from Oregon has died after contracting a rare, flesh-eating bacteria despite having almost every limb amputated.
Liam Flanagan was riding his bicycle down a hill near his home on Jan. 13 when he crashed, the Daily Mail reported. The handlebar of the bike sliced through his jeans, and he was taken to a nearby hospital for stitches.
But just days later, Liam said he was in a lot of pain and noticed an inflamed swelling on his groin. His mother, Sara Hebard, and stepfather, Scott Hinkle, were very concerned.
"It was purplish-red and gangrenous looking," Scott said. "We threw him in the rig and went like hell."
Liam was admitted to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with necrotizing fasciitis -- a deadly bacterial infection.
Surgeons attempted for hours to cut out the infection from Liam's tissues. They transferred him to another hospital in Portland, where doctors began amputating parts of Liam's body.
"They basically cut him up piece by piece," Scott said.
"Almost his whole right side was gone," Sara added. "They kept cutting and hoping. Cutting and hoping."
Liam was transferred to yet another specialist unit in Portland a few days later. He died at that hospital on Jan. 21. He underwent a total of four major operations in three different hospitals, but the infection was too aggressive.
"He was a bright ray of sunshine," Sara said of Liam. "He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was one of those people who would walk into a room and would draw everyone."
"He was a lovable kid," Scott added. "He never had a bad word to say."
Sara and Scott are now encouraging other parents to be vigilant whenever their children receive cuts that require stitches.
"It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a bad one. It just needed a few stitches is all, that’s it," Sara told KPTV. "And he was taking it like a trooper. I mean, how -- how -- that’s what I ask -- how? And there’s just no answer."
“I would have to say for one, hug your children tight because you never know how quickly it goes, and then to pay attention to them and don’t just take for granted it could just be a simple accident," Liam's mother added. "And to spread awareness because people don’t know. I had never even heard of this before."
A GoFundMe page was set up to help Liam's family pay for medical expenses. The page has raised over $16,000 of its $20,000 goal in just a few days.