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Family Stories

The D’Imperio Family

FFF Advocate:
Sarah D’Imperio (mother)
Place of Residence:
New York, NY
Date of Death:
January 7, 2002
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James D’Imperio

James had not been vaccinated against the flu because at the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not recommend that children his age get vaccinated. Now, every year, James’ whole family gets vaccinated against the flu. 

On January 5, 2002, 14-month-old James and his twin brother, Robbie, spent the afternoon with their parents at the Boston Children’s Museum where they were visiting from New York City.

James and Robbie both began to run a fever later that day. The following day, the coughing and fevers continued so they drove home to New York City that evening with bottles of medicine and a humidifier. That night was rough as James and Robbie were both up almost the entire night and appeared uncomfortable. Their mother gave James a bath to help bring down his fever, but by early morning his breathing seemed labored. James was also wheezing (which was not present in Robbie). His mother brought James to the pediatrician, who in turn had him rushed to the emergency room for what they thought would result in oxygen treatments. Approximately 90 minutes later, on January 7, 2002, James died at the hospital.

The autopsy revealed that James had influenza and a bronchial virus; however, he had no other illnesses or risk factors. James had not been vaccinated against the flu because at the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not recommend that children his age get vaccinated. Now, every year, James’ whole family gets vaccinated against the flu, including his twin brother, Robbie.

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