MIAMI – A 77-year-old woman was infected with a carnivorous bacterium and died nearly two weeks after falling on a beach walk in Florida and losing a leg, her family said Monday.
Wade Fleming told The Associated Press that his mother, Lynn Fleming, who had retired to the Gulf Coast in Florida, had stumbled and fell into the water at Coquina Beach when her family was Pittsburgh was visiting. The wound swelled and bled, which led her to take antibiotics and be vaccinated against tetanus.
The woman was taken to hospital a day later, where she was diagnosed with a carnivorous disease. She died Thursday after two strokes and organ failure.
Lynn Fleming's death follows the case of a 12-year-old girl from Indiana who had her toes and the same rare bacteria while she was on vacation at Florida Panhandle on last month. Bacteria thrive in warm, salty water and are usually found in the south. Kylei Brown has almost lost her leg and needs a physical therapy to be able to walk again.
Lynn Fleming, a retired banker from Charleroi, dreamed of settling in the area south of Tampa.
"She always wanted to move to Florida, but my father was half retired and he was a charter captain," he said. "After she died, she pulled the trigger."
Almost four years ago, she moved to Ellenton, where she went for a walk, playing cards and having dinner with other retired friends from her only club.
The day she scraped her leg, she did one of her usual beach walks. Wade Fleming said the family did not think much about the cut, which was 19 millimeters. But the blood continued to flow. Lynn Fleming invited her son and family to join her in the retiree community the night before her return to Pittsburgh.
"They would never know that something was wrong," Fleming said.
After the departure of her son and her family, the wound became worse and her friends convinced her to go to an emergency room where she was vaccinated against tetanus and gave her prescribed antibiotics. When her friends wanted to deliver the prescription drugs the next day, they found her unconscious on the floor of her room. They took her to the hospital.
She was told that she had been infected with the carnivorous bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis. She died as a result of two strokes and septic shock during a surgical operation to save her leg.