YUBA CITY (CBS13) – He battled back from a paralyzing gunshot, but his family says a bacteria that was far more dangerous has claimed his life.

This family doesn’t know exactly how he contracted this deadly flesh eating bacteria.

“It was devastating. I wouldn’t want to wish that on anybody,” said the victim’s father, Steve Whatley.

Steve was with his son as he took his final breath.

“I’m never going to see him again … and all the things we maybe should have done that we didn’t do,” Steve said.

Lance Whatley, once so strong and happy, had been in a wheelchair after a home invasion shooting left him paralyzed a decade ago.

“Even with him being in a wheelchair, he took it in stride. I couldn’t imagine being him every day, what he has to go through just to get his clothes on,” Steve said.

But bed sores forced Lance to seek treatment at a hospital a month ago. That’s when his father says he took a strange and sudden turn.

“He wasn’t talking normal. He was slurring his words, you couldn’t even understand…I go, ‘Lance, what are you saying?’” Steve said.

His family says a dark red rash and open wounds formed on his body.

“All over his legs and starting to go up his back … he was looking up into my eyes, ‘Dad help me, something’s wrong, I’m scared,’” Steve said.

After overcoming a paralyzing criminal act, Lance’s body was hit with a bacteria it couldn’t overcome called necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that destroys muscles, tissue and skin.

“Like a blood bruise, it looks like that,” Steve said.

A brave man who survived a brutal criminal act was outmatched by bacteria in a hospital bed where he thought he’d be getting better.

“You go in and out, that’s what you do. You bawl and you cry, then you get back to reality for a minute then you start bawling and crying on just how much you’re going to miss him,” Steve said.

The family says they will be seeking legal help and looking into the possibility that one of the hospitals Lance was treated at may not have followed proper procedure.

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