Scarlet Anne Taylor was a happy, healthy, 5-year-old who loved to sing and dance. On December 17, 2014, the school nurse called her mother, Rebecca Hendricks. Scarlet had a fever and needed to go home. Rebecca picked up Scarlet, gave her some Tylenol, and they curled up on the couch to watch movies.
Rebecca continued treating Scarlet for what she thought were cold symptoms. Two days later, Rebecca noticed that Scarlet’s breathing was labored and raspy. They went to the local hospital, where the doctors had trouble keeping her stable. Within a few hours, Scarlet’s condition worsened and a mere four hours after their arrival at the hospital, she had passed away. The Medical Examiner’s Office later told Rebecca that Scarlet had died from the H3N2 strain of influenza. Scarlet had not been vaccinated against the flu; she was the first of 147 children who died from the flu in the 2014-2015 season.
Rebecca admits she was not aware that influenza could be so dangerous — even deadly — to an otherwise healthy child. She thought it was no big deal. Now, however, she has learned about the dangers and early warning signs of flu symptoms in children, and understands that vaccination is the best preventive measure we have against the flu. Rebecca is now an active advocate for flu vaccination.
Read more about this family’s heartbreaking story in Rebecca’s guest blog post for our friends at Shot of Prevention.
- Rebecca Hendricks (mother)
Place of Residence:
- Tacoma, WA
Date of Child’s Death:
- December 19, 2014