Indianapolis woman dies after being infected with flesh-eating bacteria on vacation

After doctors failed to diagnose her infection on time, 50-year-old Carol Martin has died from complications caused by the bacteria she picked up in Florida


                            Indianapolis woman dies after being infected with flesh-eating bacteria on vacation

When Carol Martin and her husband Richard took a trip to Florida they had no clue that just two months later she would die from being infected by flesh-eating bacteria.

Martin’s family claims that the 50-year-old’s life could have been saved if doctors had diagnosed the infection earlier.



Richard Martin told ABC6 that his wife returned from their trip to Clearwater, Florida in February with an infection the size of a nickel on her buttocks.

The grandmother from Indianapolis, Indiana sought treatment at a local hospital on March 11. Doctors assured her that the infection would shrink its own and prescribed a course of antibiotics.

The next day, Carol was taken to the emergency room by her husband because the antibiotics did not seem to be working. Once again, doctors assured the couple that everything was in control and sent them back home.         

However, the 50-year-old’s condition steadily continued to deteriorate. Soon she began experiencing trouble eating, sleeping and getting out of bed. When she began throwing up blood, she was taken to the emergency room again.

This time, the doctors finally did a biopsy. The results from the test confirmed that the lesion on Martin’s buttocks was caused by a flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis.



“In the emergency room,” Richard recalled, “they said, ‘We are sorry, but she has a flesh-eating bacteria, we have to rush her to surgery right now.’ ”

If found early, an infection of necrotizing fasciitis can be treated successfully with a combination of antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected tissue, according to a National Center for Biotechnology Information study, People reports.



Necrotizing fasciitis rapidly kills the body’s soft tissues found around the muscles, nerves, fat and blood vessels. The infection can turn deadly in a very short span of time, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to CDC estimates, approximately 600 to 1,200 Americans have been diagnozed with necrotizing fasciitis each year since 2010.  

The Martins were avid racing fans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
The Martins were avid racing fans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The Martins were racing lovers and regular visitors at the Indianapolis Speedrome. They took a family vacation to Florida to attend a race at Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Martin’s children to cover her funeral expenses. The page has collected over $2,500 already.



“Early March is when my mom started to not feel good,” Martin’s son Tyler wrote on the page. “By March 9th she ended up having to take a half day from work due to not feeling good. On Sunday, the 11th, my dad ended up taking her to St. Francis Immediate Care, where they told her it was just a virus and would go away with medications. My mom ended up taking those medications and nothing changed.”



The doctors rushed Martin for an emergency surgery that led to the removal of half her right buttock. She was placed in the Intensive Care Unit for a day to recuperate. She started to show some progress, walking around and going to the bathroom with assistance.

“My family and I thought it was too good to be true, and then we received more bad news. They ended up having to go back in yesterday to remove more of the bacteria that they missed the first time,” Tyler wrote.



Doctors discovered that the infection had spread. After yet another surgery, they removed part of her left buttock as well.

After two weeks of hospitalization, Martin was finally allowed to return home where she died days later on May 4. Her husband kissed her goodbye and left for work. He found her dead in the early hours of the morning.



The latest update on the GoFundMe page reads: “Carol Martin, beloved mother to B.J., Trisha, Tonya and Tyler. Grandmother of 7. Wife of Richard, daughter of Diane and George Spenos (stepfather) and father Charles Bednarcyk (deceased), sister to Raymond Gottschalk and friend to many. Carol passed away in her sleep May 4, 2018.”



According to the page, a viewing for Martin was held on Monday, May 14 at Singleton Mortuary. Her funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 at 7 pm EDT. Her family strongly believes that if it was not for the negligence of the doctors, the grandmother of seven could still have been alive.