INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A lawsuit filed by an Indianapolis mother claims a playground at a south side apartment complex infected her daughter with flesh-eating bacteria, which resulted in the amputation of the young girl's leg.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Marion County by attorney Daniel Chamberlain. In the suit, Lauraine Lyles claims raw sewage in the playground at Bradford Lake Apartments, located near East Stop 10 Road and Madison Avenue, caused the infection.
The 5-year-old girl was playing there on Sept. 15. Just a few days later, the lawsuit says the girl contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria.
Doctors had to amputate the right leg of the girl.
The lawsuit states the apartment complex and its management were negligent by failing to provide a clean, safe environment for the tenants.
"[The child] was playing on Bradford Lakes' playground outside of the apartment when she came into contact with exposed raw sewage and subsequently sustained injuries because of this exposure," the lawsuit states.
"You assume you send your kids out to play in an area that’s supposed to be maintained for the safety of the tenants and it’s not," said Rick Batesky, who is also representing Lyles. "That’s the tragedy here."
Lyles is seeking unspecified punitive damages for medical costs. Her daughter spent about a month at Riley Hospital.
"At five years old, she’s going to have to learn to live a whole new life," Batesky said.
According to the Marion County Health Department, an emergency housing order was issued to the owner of the apartment complex for a sewage issue on Nov. 2 after an inspection.
Officials found an outside area had sewage pooled above ground. Since it was an emergency order, it required the issue to be fixed and re-inspected within 24 hours. The heath department says the owner addressed the matter and the area passed re-inspection on Nov. 3.
"The apartment complex had notice of this condition, they didn’t warn their tenants," Batesky said.
FOX59 reached out to the apartment complex for comment. Phones calls were not returned.
Doctors at Riley say they this kind of case is not something they deal with often.
"This infection is exceedingly rare," said Dr. Tyler Arnold, an attending physician at Riley. "We treat lots of scrapes, lots of soft tissue infections. We don’t treat very many of this type of infection to this extent."
Arnold said parents should always wash children's scrapes with soap and water to reduce their risk of infection. The symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include fever, increasing pain and spreading redness.