Dad Hits Florida Beach, 2 Days Later He's Dead from 'Urban Legend' Bacteria


It’s summertime, which means millions of Americans partake in an annual tradition of hitting the beach for a much-needed getaway.

While most beaches are full of natural dangers, there’s a microscopic danger that you might not be aware of — and it’s absolutely horrific.

Just ask Cheryl Bennett Wiygul from Niceville, Florida, who wrote a tragic account of how her father recently died from a fatal case of flesh-eating bacteria, which is something that many write off as nothing more than an “urban legend.”

Wiygul described how her father contracted a case of the sometimes fatal bacteria and how it claimed his life within 48 hours of contact, according to CBS News.

According to Wiygul, she and her family had been extremely cautious and sealed up cuts and used sunblock before partaking in water-based activities, given her father’s long battle with cancer and his compromised immune system.

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“He was happy and talkative, seemed to feel fine as he did all week. About 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning, 12 hours after we were in the water, he woke up with a fever, chills and some cramping,” Wiygul wrote in a Facebook post.

She then said that they’d already planned to head back to Memphis that morning so they could get her father back to where his doctors were located, just to make sure nothing really bad was happening.

Apparently, on the car ride back to Memphis, the situation took a nasty turn.

“He got worse on the way home. His legs started to hurt severely. He was becoming extremely uncomfortable. My Dad has been through a lot and he is not a complainer so he had to have been in a lot of pain to vocalize it,” she wrote.

Do you think beaches should post warning signs about the bacteria?

Making matters worse, Wiygul recounted telling her mother to tell the hospital staff that a massive black wound on his back was flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis, only to be shot down by a staffer, who claimed that media reports of that particular condition were blown out of proportion.

Stunningly, the hospital reportedly didn’t take a biopsy of the bizarre-looking black wound. Ultimately, the downward spiral he was on came to a tragic end.

“His arms were becoming more blotchy by the minute and he was in a great deal of pain. Some of the nurses said they’d never seen anything like it. At 1 a.m. he became septic and they moved him into ICU. He coded shortly after and they had to bring him back,” Wiygul wrote.

“My dad had a lot of medical issues but heart was not one of them. They had to intubate 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.”

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The horrific incident came on the heels of a similar situation that unfolded a week prior, after a 12-year-old girl from Indiana contracted the bacteria in Florida, according to CBS News. Though she didn’t die, the recovery process will take months.

Wiygul and presumably others who’ve experienced this rare and deadly encounter with nature have become strong advocates for proper signage at popular beaches that would warn beachgoers of the potential dangers of the potentially deadly bacteria lurking in the water.

“There is not enough education out there about the bacteria in the water. There needs to be signs posted at every beach, every city and state park, and every bayou stating that “due to naturally occurring bacteria in the water people with open wounds or compromised immune systems should not enter,” Wiygul wrote.

Though a majority of healthy people probably don’t need to worry, there are plenty of folks out there with medical conditions that should be fully informed of the possible dangers of contracting this very real and very deadly disease.

Our thoughts and prayers go out for Wiygul and her family while they endure a difficult healing process. Hopefully, others will take notice and spread awareness, which could save lives down the road.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
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