South Carolina

Woman contracts flesh-eating disease at Myrtle Beach area water park, suit says

A South Carolina woman faces more than $1 million in medical bills after scraping her arm at the bottom of a Myrtle Beach-area water park pool and becoming infected by flesh-eating organisms, according to a lawsuit filed in Horry County.

The lawsuit alleges the plaintiff, Beverly Lanham, was knocked down by a wave in the wave pool at Wild Water & Wheels in June 2017 and suffered a scrape on her arm. When the wave knocked Lanham over, “the flesh-eating organisms entered Plaintiff’s body and began eating her right arm,” the suit states.

Mark Lazarus, owner of Wild Water & Wheel, said the water park meets S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control standards.

Lanham was infected by necrotizing fasciitis, also known as a flesh-eating disease, according to the lawsuit. Lanham has had multiple surgeries, suffered “permanent disfigurement,” ongoing serious pain and faces more than $1 million in medical bills, the lawsuit states.

The water park failed to keep the water clean and test for water quality, according to the lawsuit.

The Anastopoulo Law Firm, which represents Lanham, released more information about the case on Monday afternoon. They say Lanham is from North Augusta, South Carolina and was in the Myrtle Beach for vacation. She did not visit any other park or the ocean between the time she was at Wild Water & Wheels and her diagnosis.

“We were hopeful we could wait until Beverly was completely done with treatment before filing the lawsuit to show the true measure of her damages, but it has become apparent she will have to undergo treatment and will be disfigured for the rest of her life,” the law firm said in a statement.

The firm added the purpose of the suit is to make sure nobody else was hurt. The lawyers also noted media reports where safety officials raised concerns about the park in 2015.

Lazarus said the water park is unaware of the lawsuit.

“We don’t comment on pending litigation,” Lazarus said in an email to The Sun News. “Wild Water has been in business for 29 years and holds high standards for water quality.”

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The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.