A 50-year-old grandmother has died two months after a vacation to Florida — but her family claims her life could have been saved if the deadly infection she likely picked up during the trip had been caught earlier.
When Carol Martin — from Indianapolis, Indiana — returned from her trip to Clearwater in February, she told her husband, Richard, that she was experiencing pain from a small sore on her buttocks, he told ABC6.
On March 11, Carol went to a local hospital for treatment, and doctors prescribed her antibiotics and assured her it would clear up its own, the family wrote on a GoFundMe page.
However, the following day Richard drove Carol to the emergency room as it seemed the medication was not working. Once again, doctors told the couple the sore would heal, Richard explained to ABC6.
Carol’s health still continued to deteriorate though, as she began experiencing trouble sleeping, eating and getting out of bed, the family wrote on the donation page. When she began vomiting blood, Richard rushed her to the hospital for the third time. It was during this visit that doctors performed a biopsy, discovering her lesion was caused by a flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis.
“In the emergency room,” Richard recalled to ABC6, “they said, ‘We are sorry, but she has a flesh-eating bacteria, we have to rush her to surgery right now.’ “
Necrotizing fasciitis quickly kills the body’s soft tissue found around muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels and it can turn lethal in a short period of time, according to the Centers For Disease Control. Since 2010, about 600 to 1,200 Americans are diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis each year, though the CDC notes this may be an underestimate.
A necrotizing fasciitis infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics and surgery to remove infected tissue if it’s caught early, which is important to a patient’s survival, according to a National Center for Biotechnology Information study.
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Carol — a mother of four and grandmother of seven — then underwent emergency surgery that lead to the removal of half her right buttock, according to her GoFundMe page.
As she recovered from her initial operation, doctors discovered that the bacteria had spread, and she underwent another surgery to remove a portion of her left buttock.
After being hospitalized more than two weeks, Carol returned home and died days later on May 4.
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“She made me lunch, I kissed her goodbye to go to work. I come home early in the morning and found her passed away,” Richard told ABC6. “We should have the answers and know why this went where it did.”
The family recently set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral services. According to the page, a viewing for Carol is scheduled for Monday at Singleton Mortuary in Indianapolis, and a service will be held on Tuesday.