Ariz. boy, 3, scrapes knee then loses legs to rare bacterial infection

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - What was thought to be a minor scrape on a bike ride for a 3-year-old boy from Arizona turned into a rare staph infection that got so serious doctors had to amputate his legs.

The Baumkirschner family, including 3-year-old Beauden, went camping in San Diego in early October. While on a bike ride, the little boy fell and scrapped his right knee.

Beauden Baumkirschner, 3, scrapped his right knee during a bike ride on an October family vacation. He later developed an MRSA staph infection.
Beauden Baumkirschner, 3, scrapped his right knee during a bike ride on an October family vacation. He later developed an MRSA staph infection. (Source: Baumkirschner Family, KGTV via CNN)

“He fell down, scratched his knee. Then, we put an antibacterial spray on it with a Band-Aid, and off we went,” said Beauden’s father, Brian Baumkirschner.

Beauden spent the next few hours riding bikes, running around and, at one point, playing in the dirt. Early in the evening, he said he didn’t feel well, but it wasn’t until the next morning that his parents knew anything was wrong.

The 3-year-old woke up with a fever, and over the next day, he became lethargic and started favoring his right leg.

His parents rushed him to urgent care then to the children’s hospital. His father says his right knee was swelling up and turning purple.

“It started spreading up his legs, down his legs, in his arms, down to his hands,” he said.

Doctors eventually diagnosed Beauden with a MRSA staph infection. According to the CDC, MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics.

“They kept telling us that there was swelling. All of his extremities are shutting down,” Baumkirschner said.

Beauden had developed a complication: toxic shock syndrome. His little body started to shut down, his kidneys beginning to fail. He also developed sepsis.

“Every parent’s worst nightmare, you can’t do anything. You’re helpless,” Baumkirschner said.

Several leg surgeries to relieve the pressure helped save Beauden’s life, but on Monday, doctors had to amputate his legs below the knee.

His father is optimistic his son’s arms and hands can be saved. He says he’s just grateful Beauden is alive after their family vacation turned tragic.

“We’re still so numb. It’s just heartbreaking,” he said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with expenses. It has raised more than $20,000.

Doctors couldn’t pinpoint exactly when or where Beauden contracted the staph bacteria. The boy’s father says they told him similar serious staph infections are rare, and the hospital sees only a few cases every year.

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