August 29, 2019

Flu story featuring Joseph

My son, Joseph, was a healthy five-year-old whose story began innocently enough, with a sniffle and a cough. It wasn’t long before he became lethargic and was having a hard time breathing. We called our pediatrician and took him to the local urgent care center where they realized his blood oxygen levels were very low. They sent him to the local children’s hospital where he was initially diagnosed and treated for pneumonia. Several days later, he was diagnosed with H1N1 flu.

Joseph was in the hospital for a total of 10 days and his condition was never critical until the last eight hours before his death. At that time, Joseph’s blood pressure had plummeted and we returned to the intensive care unit where the doctors ran a battery of tests. Hours later, the doctors decided to put him on a ventilator to make him comfortable because his respiration and heart rates were so high. Despite his condition, Joseph was alert and responsive. We were discussing Halloween costumes when Joseph suddenly lost consciousness. Despite life-saving efforts, Joseph passed away that day due to complications of H1N1 flu.

You always hear ‘it’s just the flu,’ but I can tell you that the flu is a serious disease that claims the lives of thousands of people each year in the United States, including more than 100 children. The flu does not discriminate. As a parent, I urge you to get everyone in your family vaccinated each and every year.

Serese Marotta
Mother of Joseph
Springboro, OH

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