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Dad eaten alive by deadly parasite 48 hours after family beach trip – Mirror Online

Health and Medical

Dad eaten alive by deadly parasite 48 hours after family beach trip – Mirror Online

A dad has been eaten alive by a deadly parasite 48 hours after a family beach trip – in the same area a schoolgirl was also left fighting for her life from the infection.

Dave Bennett, from Memphis, was visiting daughter Cheryl Bennett Wiygul in Destin, Florida, when they decided to head to the beach and do various water sports as they all soaked up the sunshine.

But 12 hours after being in the water, cancer-stricken Dave woke up with a fever, chills and some cramping.

His health began to rapidly deteriorate and he was taken to hospital where they discovered a “terribly swollen black spot on his back”.

He was pronounced dead within hours and lab results later confirmed he had contacted necrotizing fasciitis – also known as flesh eating bacteria.

Dave is thought to have contracted the infection while in Destin, Florida


Grief-stricken daughter Cheryl has now recalled the harrowing 48 hours that changed her life forever and vowed: “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

“This is so raw and personal to me that I did not want to post about it, she said. “But if I can help one person, then it is worth it.

“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'”.

Weeks before her father’s tragic death, Cheryl had seen the story about Kylei Parker .

The 12-year-old was left fighting for her life and almost lost her leg when her skin turned black and started rotting away from the infection.

Kylei’s horror ordeal started during a family holiday after a trip to the beach

It’s thought it entered her body through a cut on her big toe while paddling in the water at Pompano Beach in Destin, Florida.

With this in mind, before going in the water Cheryl and her mother had meticulously checked Dave’s body for any cuts or open wounds.

She said: “My Dad had cancer, therefore his immune system was compromised. He’s battled cancer for many years and has been in the water several times so it didn’t seem like a risk.

“My parents were coming down to stay with me in Florida about a week after the post about a 12-year-old girl contracting bacteria that turned into necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) in Destin started circling around. I didn’t want to believe that.

“The girl had a cut on her leg so I felt like it reinforced to me not to go in with a cut. I researched a little. When my parents got in town I was fanatical about Neosporin and liquid bandaid.

She endured three surgeries to get the infection removed

“My Dad didn’t have any open wounds. He had a couple places that were practicality healed small scratches on his arms and legs that I made sure were super sealed up.”

The family went on to have a “blast”.

Cheryl continued: “We were out in the bay on the boat near Crab Island, went to the beach in Destin twice, splashed around Turkey Creek, swam in Boggy Bayou, in our pool and then on Friday we spent the day at Rocky Bayou riding jet skis and throwing the ball around in the water.”

They then returned home and Dave stayed up late to watch a film and was “happy and talkative” until 12 hours later when things took a turn.

“His legs started to hurt severely,” said Cheryl.

“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 vocalise it.

Kylei, pictured with mum Michelle, was left in agony


“They got to the hospital in Memphis around 8pm. They took him back immediately. As they were helping him get changed into his hospital gown they saw this terribly swollen black spot on his back that was not there before.

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“My mom sent me a picture of it and it felt like someone sucker punched me. I called and asked if it was actually black (because sometimes color is off in a photo) and she said it was black.

“I never saw a cut on his back and neither did she. We certainly hadn’t seen this spot. I told her to tell them he was in the water in Florida and it was necrotizing fasciitis.”

Dave was put on IV antibiotics but the black spot had doubled in size and a new one had also appeared. His arms were becoming increasingly blotchy and he was in a great deal of pain.

Several nurses said “they’d never seen anything like it.”

In the early hours of the morning it had turned septic and Dave was moved to the intensive care unit.

Cheryl added: “They said his organs were too damaged and his blood was too acidic to sustain life. He was gone by Sunday afternoon. Less than 48 hours after getting out of the water feeling great, the bacteria had destroyed him.

Dave contracted Vibrio vulnificus which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis


“We got lab results today: Vibrio vulnificus which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) ultimately leading to sepsis .

“Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that is transmitted by eating undercooked shellfish or through an open wound. There were no bacteria warnings at any beach or park we went to.

“I would never have taken my Dad in the water if there was a bacteria advisory but it would have been because I didn’t want him to get a stomach virus not because I thought it would kill him.

“I knew you shouldn’t swim with an open wound but I didn’t realise he shouldn’t be in the water with his immune system.

“I feel like I should have known and that is something I will live with for the rest of my life.

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“If I would have done more research I would have but I don’t think the general public realizes it either.

“I do believe if there was a simple sign posted about the risk of swimming with an open wound or an immune disorder, we wouldn’t have let him get in.

“I am absolutely not trying to scare people from the beach or swimming. I love the water and so did my Dad.

“People do need to know how to be more cautious and how to recognize symptoms. There is information out there but I didn’t find it all until it was too late.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I don’t need anyone to tell me what we should or should not have done. We already know. It was too late for us.”

Lynn Fleming (middle) also died from necrotizing fasciitis after visiting a Florida beach


Meanwhile as we previously reported, Lynn Fleming from Ellenton, Florida, also died last month from the infection after falling while walking on the beach.

She suffered a small cut which led her to contract necrotizing fasciitis.

She had been walking on Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island, in the west coast of Florida – where she had hoped to retire as she “loved the ocean” and “walking on the beach”.

The wound was only small, so she didn’t think much of it and a few days later she had a tetanus shot at the doctors.

But the next day things took a turn for the worst and Lynn was found unconscious in her home.

Doctors said she had contracted necrotizing fasciitis and performed multiple surgeries on the infected leg in attempts to save her life

But during the surgeries, she suffered two strokes and  sepsis  , reports

Her son, Wade, and his wife Traci, were with her when she died.

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