Ben Smith-Crallan is my older brother who died from the effects of Necrotising Fasciitis on the 15th June 2018. He was only 37 years old.
After taking a stumble into the lake at Botanic Gardens Ben began to notice that his leg was a little sore. Over the space of a week the area had become very painful, swollen and discoloured. Thinking it was a fairly run-of-the-mill infection, he visited A&E for a dose of antibiotics but instead was immediately taken into surgery, returning to the ICU in an induced coma. My dad and I turned up with a toothbrush, a book and his phone charger as he'd requested earlier, only to be presented with a devastating scene and no knowledge of what was actually unfolding.
He was kept sedated for almost a month and endured multiple operations to remove infected tissue. Ben had to have the infected leg amputated and was woken from sedation to be informed of the measures that were taken to try and save his life. He astounded doctors to fight on through all of this for some weeks but due to the devastating effects of Necrotising Fasciitis and septic shock, Ben went into multi-organ failure and passed away. A small unnoticed scratch on his lower leg was the point of entry for a bacteria that took his life.
Whilst the issues Ben faced in the weeks that followed are rare, we believe that the cleaning of the lake should be made a priority by Sefton Council. A flow needs to be facilitated to reduce the stagnant body of water, for the safety of both visitors and wildlife. We understand that water inhabited by wildlife can never be truly 'clean' but a lot could be done to make it less hazardous to public health.
Whilst the volunteers that look after the park do a fantastic job at maintaining it, there is only so much they can do with limited funding.
We have tried to get people in positions of authority to listen and take action but over the years since Ben's death but all efforts have been ignored until now. With more public backing we hope that people will finally take notice and something will be done. With support from local media, MPs and Councillors, we hope that this time we can make it a reality for everyone. After a year of parks being some of the only places we've all been able to visit during lockdowns, we’re sure you agree that these beauty spots need to be nurtured and protected.
- Jools McKnight
- Jackson Clare
- Natasha Sandland
- Jill Harcombe
- Michelle Wood
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