A 12-year-old girl is recovering after she developed a life-threatening flesh-eating disease in her leg, likely from swimming at a beach in Florida.
Kylei Parker and her family went on a beach vacation to Destin, Florida earlier this month, and at the end of their trip, she started feeling pain in her leg. By the time they returned to their home in Indiana, her leg had swollen and she was running a fever.
Kylei’s mom, Michelle Brown, initially called their doctor to set up an appointment, but he urged them to immediately go to the emergency room.
“When they told me we needed to go home and pack bags and get to Riley [Hospital for Children, in Indianapolis], my anxiety went from 0 to 110,” Michelle told Fox59. “I knew something was wrong.”
There, doctors first thought Kylei that had a blood clot. But, “her blood pressure was just continuously dropping,” Michelle said. “It was rough.”
They then determined that Kylei had necrotizing fasciitis — the decaying of soft tissue, which occurs after bacteria enters the body and attacks the skin and tissue. The bacteria had likely come from the Florida beach, and entered through a scrape on her toe that Kylei got from skateboarding a few days earlier.
Kylei was rushed into emergency surgery to stop the infection.
“The emergency surgery was to hopefully save her leg, but more importantly to save her life,” Michelle said. “If it wasn’t for their quick responses and aggressive treatments, we wouldn’t have her … It’s hard for me to think about if I had waited one more day, or even a couple more hours. We’re just very fortunate.”
After spending a week in the hospital, Kylei is now recovering at home, though she still has an IV port in her arm and her leg is wrapped in bandages. She will soon start therapy to help her leg heal.
“I’ve told my mom multiple times that I just want to be normal again, with my leg,” Kylei said.
Michelle is now warning other parents to be wary about letting their kids swim in open water with cuts and scrapes. She said that it’s now tough for her to see other families enjoying time at the beach.
“It’s just so hard seeing friends and family on the beach and having fun, because we were there doing the same thing and I almost lost her,” she said.
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