The Psalms have a tendency to talk about the shortness and impermanence of human life. Psalm 39:5 proclaims, “Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”
It’s an evocative image, a reminder that our existence is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair.
One Florida family recently received a terrible reminder of that truth.
Located on a small barrier island off of the Sunshine State’s west coast, it’s usually an idyllic slice of the Gulf Coast. However, the beach would prove fatal for Fleming.
While vacationing with her son Wade and his wife Traci, she went for a stroll on the water’s edge. However, she failed to notice a divot that made her misstep.
“There was a little depression that she couldn’t see because it was under the water. She fell into it, came out with a little three-quarter-inch cut, a bump on her leg,” Wade said.
“It was just a small cut, didn’t think much of it. We got the swelling down, but it just kept bleeding.”
Fox News reported that the little injury refused to heal. Eventually, Fleming went to a local hospital for treatment.
Physicians gave her a tetanus shot and provided her with antibiotics, however, things got dire on June 17.
“Her friends found her pretty much unconscious and on her bedroom floor,” Traci told NBC News.
This time, the doctors correctly diagnosed the problem: Fleming had necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection more commonly known as flesh-eating disease.
The statistics surrounding the disease are grim. Although there are usually no more than 1,200 cases annually, about a third of those with necrotizing fasciitis will die, even with treatment.
The CDC emphasizes that a fast diagnosis and treatment are paramount in combating the illness, neither of which Fleming received. She underwent multiple surgeries to remove her dying flesh.
Sadly, those surgeries didn’t prove successful. Fleming suffered two strokes and then went into organ failure before passing away on June 27.
“It seems like a ‘Lifetime’ movie really,” Wade said. “I can’t even believe it, that it’s really even happening. It’s just all happening so fast.”
Traci told Liftable, a brand of The Western Journal, that she and her husband hope they can spread the message that quick and proper treatment can help stop the disease in its tracks. “My husband and I are just trying to raise awareness,” she said.
“We don’t want people to ever stop going to the beach. We just want to make everyone aware of the potential dangers and if they would happen to get a cut or have a cut going into the ocean to look for the signs and get treated immediately.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.