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Indianapolis Woman Dies From Flesh-Eating Bacteria On Florida Vacation

May 12, 2018 07:09 AM EDT
The husband of the woman who died of a flesh-eating bacteria says that the hospital failed to treat his wife properly the first two times they sought medical help. The family believes that inadequate and delayed medical care played a part in her death.
(Photo : Mohamed Abdiwahab | AFP | Getty Images)

A lethal flesh-eating bacteria killed a woman just two months after she visited Tampa Bay in Florida, where it's believed she picked up the disease.

What started off as a small pimple grew into a bigger, more painful sore and Carol Martin, 50, eventually died of necrotizing fasciitis, despite surgical intervention.

Family Vacation Ends In Tragedy

According to a report from WFLA, the Indianapolis-based Martin family visited Clearwater in Florida's Tampa Bay area to check out the scene at the racetracks last February.

Husband Richard Martin says it's a trip they take annually due to Carol's love of racing. As per usual, the family stayed at the Days Inn on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

The vacation passed by uneventfully, but when they returned home, Carol discovered a painful infection on her buttocks.

"Like a penny or a dime. It was small. She thought it was a pimple," Richard tells WDAF, saying it grew bigger and more painful over time.

He suspects his wife contracted the disease from the hotel hot tub in Florida, since she's the only one who got into the tub.

Husband Criticizes Hospital Care

Following the infection, the couple sought out medical help three times at Franciscan Health immediate care and then Franciscan Health ER. During the first two trips to the hospital, Carol was given antibiotics and a heating pad.

Richard is slamming the hospital for their inadequate medical treatment for his late wife.

"The way they handled all this is screwed up. I feel like they did not want to do that because she did not have insurance," he continues in WDAF. "At least by the second time they should have decided 'this is growing and maybe we should take a culture of it and see what it is.'"

The final trip to the emergency room had the doctors taking a biopsy of the infected area. It resulted in a diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis with the doctor whisking Carol into surgery immediately. She spent 16 days in the ICU.

Just days of being released from the hospital, Carol died at home.

The family is now waiting for autopsy results and enlisting legal help moving forward.

Necrotizing Fasciitis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes necrotizing fasciitis as a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue. Accurate diagnosis, prompt antibiotic treatment, and surgery are reportedly crucial in stopping the infection from turning deadly.

Since 2010, approximately 600 to 1,200 cases of necrotizing fasciitis occur each year in the United States.

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