Families of two unrelated children who died of a
recreational water illness in 2005 are receiving a
settlement payment from the city of Tulsa, Okla.
Natasha and Terrell Hampton and Diana Doxey and Martinez
Owens received a total of $315,000 for the deaths of their
sons, Terrell Hampton II, age 9, and Martinez Owens, 7. The
parents claimed negligence in their lawsuit against the
city, citing poor maintenance of the Mohawk Park spraypad,
where their sons had played on separate days that summer.
The families will split the money evenly.
Naegleria infection is more common in rivers,
ponds and lakes, but extremely rare in treated water
conditions, said Michael Beach, senior epidemiologist at
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The amoebae enter via the nasal passages and take about
seven days to infect an individual. Symptoms include severe
headache, confusion and fever. The disease is often
Both boys had been playing in the same splashpad within
two weeks of each other, though the Tulsa Health Department
said water from the treated system was unlikely to have
contained the amoebar. Officials think the system was
cross-contaminated from stagnant water collecting in an
area 30 to 40 feet away. According to a press release,
?officials believe the children could potentially
have contaminated the water ? after running through
the nearby stagnant water area or scooping the stagnant
water up in water toys and throwing them into the sprinkler
Beach said that while the disease is rare in treated
systems, ?it?s a strong message that
we?d better maintain our facilities,? he
said. ?Everybody has to think about it, even in a
rare event like this.?