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Family Stories

The Andersen Family

FFF Advocate:
Franki Andersen (mother)
Place of Residence:
Milford, Iowa
Date of Child’s Death:
March 26, 2016
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Brittany Andersen

Brittany (or Britt, as her mother likes to call her) was very intuitive at a young age, and loved to sing, dance, dress up, and play with her stuffed animals and her swing set. Britt was susceptible to strep throat as a child and as a result, became very ill several times during her young life between the ages of 1 ½ and 6 years old. However, after the doctors removed her tonsils and adenoids, Britt was relatively healthy – until the spring of 2016 when at 20 years old she developed influenza A.

On March 24, 2016, Britt complained that her throat was itchy so she picked up some over-the-counter medicine. Later that evening, she seemed to be feeling better although her voice was a little raspy. The next day, Britt told her mother that she wasn’t feeling quite like herself. Her mother gave her some toast and juice and then helped Britt to bed. Fifteen minutes later, Britt’s mother went to check on her and Britt indicated that she was feeling okay.

Later that day, around 11:45 A.M., Britt’s mother heard a weird rattle sound coming from her room. She went into Britt’s room and found her lying on her back. She tried to wake Britt and then called 911. When the ambulance arrived, Britt had no pulse. The paramedics immediately began to work on her and rushed her to the hospital.

At the hospital, the doctors told Britt’s mother she had a pulse. Her heart was functioning, but her other organs were failing. The doctors decided to life-flight her to a hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Upon arrival, the medical staff told Britt’s mother that her condition was not stabilizing despite attempts to rectify her blood pressure and oxygen levels. The medical staff indicated that Britt was experiencing sepsis and explained to her mother that she should prepare herself to make a medical decision concerning Britt’s life.

On the morning of March 26, 2016, Britt went into cardiac arrest twice within a few minutes and her mother made the difficult decision to stop life-saving efforts.

Britt’s mother wants everyone to know how important it is to get everyone in your family vaccinated. Britt’s infection with influenza A started with a sore throat, but rapidly escalated to every parent’s worst nightmare. Britt’s mother honors her daughter’s memory by continuing to raise public awareness about the dangers of influenza in the hopes that she can prevent another family from experiencing a similar tragedy.

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