A child from Texas has died from a rare brain-eating amoeba and now, his family is suing the City of Arlington.
The Texan family states their young son contracted the amoeba after visiting a splash pad that Arlington failed to treat properly.
Bakari Williams adored the Don Misenhimer Park splash pad but after a visit on September 3, the toddler quickly became sick.
“All he wanted to do was lay down, so I automatically knew there was something wrong right there and then,” said Kayla Mitchell, Bakari’s mother.
The little boy was diagnosed with an infection caused by the rare Naelgleria fowleri amoeba and died on Sept. 11. The CDC eventually confirmed the presence of the brain-eating amoeba at the splash pad.
“Bakari was a loving, energetic, passionate, sweet, beautiful, innocent boy. He didn’t deserve to die in this manner,” said Tariq Williams, the boy’s father.
The family’s attorneys say Bakari’s death was caused by the City of Arlington’s negligence. According to records, the city did not properly treat or test the water daily, as is required by the state
“That’s simply unacceptable,” said Stephen Stewart, the family’s attorney. “If a splash pad amusement is left untested, if the water is left untreated, bad things happen.”
City officials stated they have found the identified gaps in their daily inspection program and have since closed all of their splash pads for the remainder of the year.
This was the family’s second child lost. In 2019, they lost a child to SIDS. Their lawsuit asks for more than $1 million. But the Bakari family says it’s not just about the money but about public awareness.
“The last thing that we want is for anyone else and their family to have to feel and go through what we’re going through at this time,” said Williams.
The 3-year-old is not the only one who has died recently from a brain-eating amoeba.
A 7-year-old boy by the name of David Pruitt was swimming in a Northern California lake this past July when he contracted an extremely rare brain-eating amoeba. He eventually died of complications.
And in 2020, 13-year-old Tanner Lake Wall from Palatka, in North Florida, died on Aug. 2 from a brain-eating amoeba after his family went on vacation.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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