- Carol Martin died after developing a flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis, local Indianapolis news station WTTV reported.
- Her husband, Richard Martin, told WTTV that he believes she was infected when she used a hot tub during a vacation to Florida.
- Carol Martin initially thought the infection was a pimple, but a biopsy revealed it was much more serious.
- Necrotizing fasciitis is a potentially fatal skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue.
- Warning: This post contains graphic images.
When Carol Martin returned home from her family vacation to Clearwater, Florida, she noticed a sore on her butt. She assumed it was just a pimple, and went about her day. But the "pimple" turned out to be a flesh-eating bacteria, local Indianapolis news station WTTV reported.
It turns out, the pimple was a serious infection known as necrotizing fasciitis, local Florida news station WFLA reported.
Carol sought treatment at an urgent care center when she noticed that the sore was growing, WTTV reported. She was sent home twice with antibiotics and a heating pad. But on her third visit, doctors did a biopsy and found that she had necrotizing fasciitis, WFLA reported.
This bacterial infection enters the body through a break in the skin.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial skin infection that spreads and kills the body's soft tissue, according to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC). The infection is most commonly caused when bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin, but it can also develop as a complication of surgical procedures, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). Additionally, medical conditions that weaken the immune system such as diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer may increase the risk of necrotizing fasciitis, according to the CDC.
Carol was rushed into surgery and spent 16 days in intensive care, but she died at home just days after she was released, news station WFLA reported. Although her situation was rare, necrotizing fasciitis can affect anyone, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
The condition spreads quickly, so it's important to know the symptoms.
Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis often start within a few hours of the infection, according to NORD. The first symptoms are often pain or soreness that feel similar to that of a pulled muscle, according to the CDC. The skin may also feel warm and have red or purple areas of swelling and some people may get ulcers, blisters, or black spots on their skin, according to the CDC. Later symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, and vomiting, according to the GARD.
You should seek prompt medical treatment because antibiotic treatment and surgery to remove dead tissue are required to treat the infection.
The most simple way to prevent necrotizing fasciitis is to all wounds clean and covered, including minor scrapes and cuts, according to the CDC. It's also important to avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water until your wound heals, according to the CDC.
The source of Carol's infection is unclear.
Carol's husband, Richard Martin, told WTTV that he believes his 50-year-old wife was infected with the bacteria when she used a hot tub at a Days Inn hotel in Clearwater, Florida during their vacation.
Kathryn Zambito, the director of global communications for the Wyndham Hotel Group — the parent company of Days Inn — told INSIDER in an email that the hotel is individually owned and operated under a franchise agreement. "Our hearts go out to the family during this tragic and difficult time," Zambino told INSIDER. "We have been in touch with the hotel's owner regarding the matter. Ownership is taking steps to assess the pool area at the hotel."
Carol Martin's family did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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