Spending a day at the beach can be fun. Whatever your age. And whether you choose to just soak up some rays or to take a dip in the cool blue ocean, hopefully all that you’ll take back with you are some good memories and perhaps some sand in your shoes. For Dave it though his trip to the beach in July 2019 had catastrophic and heartbreaking consequences.
A resident of Memphis, Tennessee, Bennett and his wife had gone to see their daughter Cheryl Bennett Weigel in nice Ville, Florida during that month. Then, after getting together, the family spent a fun day out in Destin to celebrate the 4 July weekend and enjoyed plenty of time in the water to boot. Bennett and his relatives eventually returned to Weigel’s home following their spell at the beach, and apparently the dad was in good spirits. By the end of the day, he was relaxing on his own, catching a late night movie on TV. Yet everything would change.
Just a few hours later in the early morning, Bennett appeared to develop a fever ahead of his return trip to Memphis. The family patriarch, who was also battling cancer at the time, was therefore taken to a local hospital on his way home, and as the staff checked Bennett over, they discovered something ominous a dark inflamed sore on his back. Before Bennett’s health took a turn for the worst. Though, he was out enjoying what summer has to offer and the season is often the best of the year. Thanks to the warm weather, it’s much more pleasant to kick back and relax with loved ones outdoors.
And in June 2019, Indiana based Kylie Brown and her family were just some of the many heading to Destin for some rest and relaxation. Naturally, the clan visited one of the city’s beaches during that trip, too. The following day, though, the twelve year old noted an ache in her right leg that steadily got worse. Then a further 24 hours on Brown’s leg began to show signs of being inflamed, while the youngster herself also displayed fever like symptoms. But while Brown’s family ultimately had to head home upon their return, the girl was taken to local hospital and well, there she received a disturbing diagnosis.
Alarmingly, Brown had picked up a dangerous bacteria during her trip away in Destin, with this then triggering a flesh eating infection called Necrotizing fasciitis in her leg. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this particular condition can be lethal regardless of how it’s treated. Thankfully for Brown, she managed to survive the ordeal following a number of operations, although her treatment is far from over. Yet the preteen’s mom believes that she caught the bacteria through a cut in her leg that she had acquired prior to her trip to Destin and Unsurprisingly. When the troubling story hit the headlines, it left some concern.
Weigel had heard about Brown’s case, for one, and that had prompted her to do a bit of digging on the subject of Necrotizing fasciitis. After all, her parents were due in town and her father’s health had already been compromised. Yes, as Bennett was battling cancer at the time, his daughter was a little worried that he may be susceptible to the bacteria. And sadly for Wiggle, her fears were well placed. A short time after her parents visit, she wrote a lengthy message on Facebook explaining everything that had transpired in the wake of the vacation.
There is not enough education out there about the bacteria in the water, Weigel said on the social media website. There needs to be signs posted at every beach, every city and state park, and every Bayou stating, Due to naturally occurring bacteria in the water, people with open wounds or compromised immune systems should not enter. In particular, weighing all touched upon Bennett’s previous health issues, she explained. My dad had cancer, therefore his immune system was compromised. Nevertheless, she added of her father.
He’s battled cancer for many years and has been in the water several times, so it didn’t seem like a risk. Then Weigel spoke about Brown’s ordeal in Dustin the news story that had sparked her initial fears about her dad. Details of the twelve year old’s brush with Necrotizing fasciitis had emerged just a few days before her parents had arrived in Kneesville for the 4 July holiday. I didn’t want to believe what happened to Brown, Michael admitted. My family loves being in the water.
Our County, Oklahoma County, posted an article titled Rumor Control in response to the post, which seemed to defuse everyone’s fears. The girl had a cut on her leg, so I felt like it reinforced to me not to go in with a cut. And following Bennett’s arrival, his wife and daughter took every precaution they could to protect him. Using sunscreen and liquid bandages, Weigel ensured that her dad’s cuts and grazes were super sealed up before kicking up for the weekend. Then finally, Weigel and her family made their way back to her house, with Bennett in particularly good spirits, Weigel later recalled on Facebook.
We left at around 04:00 p.m. Daddy stayed up late Friday night and watched a movie. He was happy and talkative seemed to feel fine, as he did all week. However, Bennett’s condition took a sudden turn in the early hours of the morning. According to Weigel, this was around 12 hours after she and her relatives had been enjoying themselves in the Florida water, and much as had been the case with Brown, her father displayed fever like symptoms when he woke up, along with some aches and pains.
My parents had planned to head back to Memphis that morning anyway, Weigel explained on the social media website. And my mom wanted Bennett to be near his doctors to have him checked out. He’d been sick before and they knew his history, so it seemed like the best thing to do. Unfortunately for Bennett, though, his condition only deteriorated. On the trip back, Weigel wrote on Facebook, his leg started to hurt severely.
He was becoming extremely uncomfortable. My dad’s been through a lot and he’s not a complainer, so we ended up in a lot of pain to vocalize it. So Bennett’s wife drove into the Baptist Memorial Hospital located in their hometown of Memphis, and when the couple arrived at the facility in the evening, the staff admitted Weigel’s dad straight away. When the true cause of Bennett’s condition was discovered, however, it may have come as a shock, Wiggle revealed. As the staff were helping Bennett get changed into his hospital gown, they saw a terrible, swollen black spot on his back that was not there before.
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, and she said it was black. At that point, Wei go look back at what happened to Brown. Yes. Given everything that she’d read about that story, Deniseville resident was fairly certain that Bennett was suffering from the same thing, and thanks to that knowledge, she implored her mother to tell the staff that her dad had necrotizing fasciitis.
One person told my mom. The media had blown that story out of proportion, Weigel continued on Facebook. Others said it was a staph infection. They would not biopsy it. They did start Bennett on IV antibiotics, but the black spot had doubled in size.
A new one was starting to pop up. Bennett’s problems didn’t end there, though, Weigel wrote. At 01:00 A.m., he became septic and they moved him into the ICU. He coded shortly after, and they had to bring him back. My dad had a lot of medical issues, but his heart was not one of them.
They had to incubate him. He coded again. But following those close calls, Weigel’s family would receive some devastating news about Bennett’s condition, his daughter added on Facebook. 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, and a few days on from their tragic loss, Bennett’s family got some answers from the hospital in Memphis. According to their results, his necrotizing fasciitis have been brought on by another dangerous bacteria called Vibrio vilnifus. People normally acquire Vibrio vilnicus by either consuming raw shellfish or by being exposed through cuts. Then Weigel went on to make a heartbreaking revelation. In her Facebook post, she said, I knew you shouldn’t swim with an open wound, but I didn’t realize that my dad shouldn’t be in the water with his immune system.
I feel like I should have known, and that’s something I’ll live the rest of my life with. Yet Wiggle would raise an interesting point about the overall lack of knowledge relating to bacteria, she wrote. If I would have done more research, if I would have known about the danger, but I don’t think the general public realizes it either, Weibo continued. 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 my dad get in. But I have absolutely not tried to scare people from the beach or swimming.
I love the water and so did my dad. After that, Weisel had one last thing to say on the matter. She explained. 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. Please just pass this on so we can help someone else. And Weigel’s emotional words have since made a big impact on Facebook. Her post went viral, in fact, earning over 9000 likes and 35,000 shares. A Facebook user posting in response to Wiggle’s warning revealed that they had known Bennett for many years ago.
And with that in mind, the news may have come as something of a shock. So sorry about your dad, the social media user wrote. I went to high school with him so tragic. I’m sure we don’t hear half of these cases. Thanks for sounding the alarm out of your grief and hopefully Weigel’s tale will at least make something twice before they choose to take to the water in the future.