Woman who posted on flesh-eating bacteria says city asked her to change Facebook post

The woman who recently claimed her mother was infected by flesh-eating bacteria in the ocean off Myrtle Beach is now claiming the city told her to clarify her story, which a city official denied Thursday.

Marsha Barnes Beal wrote early Thursday morning that city officials requested she modify her Facebook post to add that her mother already had an open wound before getting in the ocean.

“Because of such an unGodly society that doesn’t understand the difference between a special prayer request and a Top Story Headline, and are more concerned about legally covering their butts, I’ve been asked by city officials to edit my post and to clerify that my Mama already had an open wound [sic],” Beal wrote in a Facebook post.

However, Mark Kruea, a spokesman for Myrtle Beach, said that is not true.

“We have not asked her to put anything in particular in it,” he said. “We have asked for additional information, but no, we have not suggested or told her to modify her post in any way.”

Beal could not be reached after multiple attempts to contact her through social media and by phone.

Kruea said he did send a Facebook message to Beal asking for more details on the situation. He said we was not aware of any other representative of the city trying to contact her.

On July 30, Beal originally posted on Facebook alleging her mother Bonita Fetterman was air lifted to a hospital in North Carolina after being infected by flesh-eating bacteria in Myrtle Beach.

The post went viral and had over 100,000 shares as of Thursday afternoon.

Hospital workers at UNC Medical Center confirmed to The Sun News on Monday that Fetterman was in the intensive care unit, but declined to comment on her condition.

Fetterman was initially treated at Southeastern Hospital in Lumberton, Hospital Spokeswoman Amanda Crabtree said.

According to Beal’s updated post, Fetterman was cut by a chair on their hotel’s balcony prior to spending time in the ocean.

“My Mama did not loose her balance on the balcony, a small gust of wind blew the chair into her leg! This caused the opened wound, city officials want me to clerify! So Facebook prayer warrior, let express my gratitude again! City officials, there's your statement [sic],” Beal wrote.

Fetterman’s exact location on the beach has still been unconfirmed by officials.

“If we knew a little better where this supposedly occurred, we could order some expert testing, but the beaches are tested twice a week and they’ll be tested twice this week,” Kruea said.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control posts ocean bacteria readings regularly on its website.

“DHEC is aware of the news reports of a potential case of necrotizing fasciitis in the Myrtle Beach area,” said Robert Yanity, a spokesman for DHEC. “It’s important to note that this type of condition is not necessarily associated with exposure to natural waters like oceans, lakes or rivers or poor water quality.”

Necrotizing faciitis, otherwise known as “flesh-eating bacteria,” is a bacterial skin infection that quickly spreads and can be deadly if not quickly treated, according to DHEC.

Symptoms include sore muscles, warm skin with red or purple areas of swelling that spread rapidly, fever, chills and vomiting. Some victims get ulcers or blisters on the skin.

Michaela Broyles, 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles