August 29, 2019

Flu story featuring Breanne

During the evening of December 20, 2003, 15-month-old Breanne Palmer developed a slight fever and began to show symptoms similar to her brother who had recently been diagnosed with influenza. The next morning, Breanne’s fever rose to 101.5° F. Her parents took her to the pediatrician, where the influenza diagnosis was made. Breanne was given antibiotics and sent home.

After visiting the doctor, Breanne took a long nap and her temperature began to slowly come down. Her parents continued to monitor her condition and give Breanne medication for her fever. When Breanne went to bed that night, her temperature was almost normal. However, as the night wore on, Breanne’s temperature climbed again very rapidly, reaching 105.5° F. Her parents put Breanne in a bath to help bring down her fever, but she began to have difficulty breathing so they called 911.

At the hospital, Breanne’s temperature rose to 107° F. Her temperature was brought down by the doctors in the emergency room, but Breanne had to be transferred to another hospital for more intensive care. A special life-support machine was needed as the virus began to attack Breanne’s heart and brain stem. However, after being transferred to yet another hospital, doctors told Breanne’s parents that the damage to her young body was too extensive. There was nothing the life-support machine could do. Breanne died in her mother’s arms on December 23, 2003 from Influenza A.

Breanne’s parents tried to get her vaccinated against the flu in early December but because she was diagnosed with an ear infection at the time, her pediatrician would not vaccinate her.

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