A DAD contracted a “flesh-eating” bug and died 48 hours after swimming at a beach.
Dave Bennet had been enjoying a day of jet ski riding in the Gulf of Mexico with his daughter Cheryl Wiygul and his wife when he got infected.
Cheryl recalled her dad being in high spirits in the lead up to his death.
On Friday, they were “out in the bay on the boat near Crab Island” and ” went to the beach in Destin twice”.
But the following morning, he woke up with “a fever, chills and some cramping”.
They took him to the hospital in Memphis around 8pm, and medical staff noticed a “terribly swollen black spot on his back that was not there before”.
I feel like I should have known and that is something I will live with for the rest of my life
Cheryl Bennett Wiygul
She recounted how doctors tried their best to save her dad, but there was ultimately nothing they can do.
Describing the incident on Facebook, Cheryl said: ” My mom sent me a picture of it [the spot] and it felt like someone sucker punched me.
“I called and asked if it was actually black (because sometimes color is off in a photo) and she said it was black. I never saw a cut on his back and neither did she. We certainly hadn’t seen this spot. I told her to tell them he was in the water in Florida and it was necrotizing fasciitis.”
By 1am on Sunday morning, a new one had popped up, and he was in a “great deal of pain”.
She added: “They had to incubate him. He coded again. They said his organs were too damaged and his blood was too acidic to sustain life. He was gone by Sunday afternoon.”
The family had been aware of recent problems with “naturally-occurring bacteria” in the waters around Destin, and had tried to come prepared.
WHAT IS NECROTISING FASCILITIS
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection also called the ‘flesh-eating disease’.
Even though the bacteria doesn’t eat the flesh, it damages the surrounding tissue.
The condition affects the tissue beneath the skin and surrounding muscles and organs.
Early symptoms can include:
- a small but painful cut or scratch on the skin
- intense pain that’s out of proportion to any damage to the skin
- flu-like symptoms
After a few hours you may develop
- swelling and redness in the painful area – the swelling will usually feel firm to the touch
- diarrhoea and vomiting
- dark blotches on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters
Dave had battled cancer for many years, so his immune system was already compromised.
But because he had been swimming several times before this, they didn’t think it was a risk.
Describing the incident on Facebook, Cheryl said: “My Dad didn’t have any open wounds.
“He had a couple places that were practicality healed small scratches on his arms and legs that I made sure were super sealed up.
“My mom religiously sun-blocked him. We were taking precautions and we were good, so I thought.”
Medical test results later confirmed that Bennett had contracted Vibrio vulnificus, which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria).
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Wiygul hopes that her dad’s death and other similar incidents will finally get officials to do something to warn people.
A 77-year-old woman was infected just last month and also died after swimming in Florida waters.
A version of this story originally appeared on NY Post.
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