Woman fights to raise awareness after son dies from flesh-eating bacteria

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Monday, January 29, 2018
Boy dies from rare flesh-eating disease after bike crash
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A bike accident led to the death of a boy from flesh-eating disease.

PILOT ROCK, Oregon -- A mother in Oregon lost her child to a rare flesh-eating bacteria, and now she's fighting to raise awareness in hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else.

Sara Hebard's son, Liam, was a normal 8-year-old boy who loved his animals, people and Batman.

"He was a bright ray of sunshine everywhere he went," Hebard said. "He was the kid that stuck up for the other kids against bullying at school."

But everything changed on Jan. 13.

Liam was riding his bike around his family's property in Pilot Rock. He crashed while going down a hill.

After a trip to the emergency room and some stitches on his leg, he seemed fine.

"It was painful but nothing that we thought was out of the ordinary," Hebard said.

A few days later, they realized something was wrong.

"The school called me and said he was crying, that it was hurting," his mother said.

Hebard's husband took a look at Liam's leg.

"He freaked and he said, 'It looks like he's got gangrene. We're going to the emergency room now.'"

Liam underwent surgery to remove the infected tissue, then was flown to another hospital in Portland, where doctors were fighting to save him from the quick-spreading bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis.

"They kept telling me we really think we got it this time. We think we're getting ahead of it," Hebard said.

But the bacteria moved faster than the doctors could.

"I'd tell them if you have to take his leg, take his leg that's okay. I just want you to save my child," Hebard said.

Within four days, Liam went through multiple surgeries with doctors trying to cut out the bacteria. By the end of the weekend, the doctors said there wasn't anything else they could do.

"He passed for a reason and I think it's because people need to know, and I wanna be his voice," Hebard said.


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