Health Team

Spring Lake woman dies from flesh-eating bacteria

Posted September 24, 2012

— A 75-year-old Spring Lake woman died from a flesh-eating bacteria infection earlier this month, the Cumberland County Health Department said Monday.

Phyllis Loan Mason died Sept. 5. at Cape Fear Valley Hospital from an infection of the hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumonia bacteria, the health department said.

Mason's son said the bacteria got into her system through an open wound.

It is the third publicized case of flesh-eating bacteria in North Carolina in recent years. In 2006, 44-year-old Sharon Bishop, a certified nursing assistant from Angier, contracted the bacteria after she jammed her thumb in a wheelchair at work.

Even after doctors amputated her arm and the areas around it and administered multiple medications, Bishop died within days of the infection. 

In Raleigh, Jennifer Thomas survived a flesh-eating infection in 2009 after she scraped her ankle while playing with her son at a park. She was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, but eventually recovered after a series of skin grafts and a year of physical therapy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a flesh-eating bacteria infection, also called necrotizing fasciitis, is fatal about 25 percent of the time.


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  • Uncle B.S. Sep 27, 2012

    @Country Girlz Have MORE fun.

    By taking RVB300

  • what the........ Sep 27, 2012

    That is a mean disease for sure!! Scary how fast it works on you.

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Sep 26, 2012

    how can a person protect themselves ?

  • kimminnc Sep 25, 2012

    My mom died from this deadly disease February 12, 2002. This disease can kill in a matter of hours!
    Diagnosis is very important but 2 say this is not as serious as another disease is crazy! Go 2 & read the stories or look @ pics! It will scare u 2 death!
    My thoughts & prayers 2 the family!

  • Mon Account Sep 25, 2012

    "Why did they keep her at small community hospital instead of transferring her to a large facility that KNOWS how to handle this stuff (Duke, UNC, Wake Forest)?"

    The first doctor there didn't know what the problem was - another doctor figured out what was actually wrong and then transferred her.

    Basically, to answer your question, because of an initial misdiagnosis.

  • malonem1 Sep 25, 2012

    This is a terrible - i have read too many stories of this type of infection in the news lately. My thoughts and prayers go out to this ladys family.

  • Fireflies Rock Sep 25, 2012

    this is a very scary, serious problem. Sorry for this poor woman and her family

  • dontstopnow Sep 24, 2012

    My ex husband had this bacteria when he died in 2005. It had covered his hands. So there are many that go unreported!

  • flack222 Sep 24, 2012

    Why did they keep her at small community hospital instead of transferring her to a large facility that KNOWS how to handle this stuff (Duke, UNC, Wake Forest)? Seems to me that is a specialty handled best by a burn center not a small hospital like Cape Fear that always seems to get in over their head with more complex medical patients.

  • smegma Sep 24, 2012

    coming to a public water supply near you