An ambulance was called twice and paramedics saw her, but she still didn’t receive treatment in time.
The list keeps growing. Each year many individuals die from the flu across the globe, and this time it seems to be particularly hard-hitting, in North America.
A young 6-year-old girl from Cary, North Carolina is the most recent victim to succumb to influenza’s deadly grip, and so far her death follows those of a 21-year old body builder from Pennsylvania, a 10-year-old boy from Conneticut, and 4 year-old boy from Ohio.
Here’s Emily Muth’s story. Emily developed a runny nose and cough, which appeared to be a typical cold. Running a fever, her parents took her to urgent care in Cary, where she tested positive for the flu and given a prescription for Tamilflu. (This antiviral medication is used to treat and prevent both influenza A and B in patients).
Related: Why You Shouldn’t Pinch Your Sneeze
Thinking the young child would get better on her own, medical professionals told Emily’s parents to make sure she stayed hydrated, and then sent the family home.
And things seemed to progress well. Two days later, Emily’s fever was still present but it was lower than it had been and her health appeared to be looking up.
By the third day however, things were getting worse. The fever was back. The young girl’s breathing was labored and her mother, worried, called an ambulance to have her taken to hospital.
And here’s where things take a turn. The paramedics came to attend to Emily, but they didn’t seem concerned. They told her family that their daughter was OK and would soon get better.
Emily wasn’t taken to the hospital.
Only when the infected young girl continued to look much worse just hours later did a call to 911 by her parents result in a hospital transfer. But by then it was too late.
Emily died before she could receive the care she needed, after CPR was administered on the way to WakeMed.
Nathan Muth, Emily’s father, posed the question to ABC7NY.com that everyone wants to ask.
“Could more have been done? You know you always think that. You know what I mean? If they had said, ‘Get to the hospital.’ What could have been done? The ambulance that was called that Friday morning, they saw her state.”
The way in which the flu will choose to progress in a patient can be difficult to predict. Why some people die from it so rapidly isn’t entirely known but experts have three theories.
It’s thought that people who die from the flu either have a simultaneous co-infection with another germ which weakens their immune system or they have a condition have such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease that aggravates their health when fighting off the flu.
Related: Is the ‘Man Flu’ Really a Thing?
The last theory involves something called a cytokine storm, which can happen when the immune system over-reacts in response to an infection. Each person’s immune system works differently. For some reason, some people experience what experts are calling a ‘pronounced immune response’ that can result in damage to the cells, including those in the lungs. The body starts attacking itself in an effort to kill off the invader.
According to the CDC, each year the flu kills between 12,000 and 56,000 people and sends as many as 700,000 patients to the hospital.
To help support Emily Muth’s family, please visit GoFundMe.com.