Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Family Stories

The Estlinbaum Family

FFF Advocate:
Hugh Estlinbaum (father)
Place of Residence:
Edmond, OK
10-years-old, 2009
Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories

Tony Estlinbaum

Tony was one of the first children hospitalized with H1N1 in the US.

Tony’s Flu Illness
On September 12, 2009, healthy, athletic, 10-year-old Tony Estlinbaum was gearing up for his first big football game. He had been looking forward to this moment for years. But, after the game, Tony had a severe headache. He took a nap and woke up feeling much better and asked to have a friend spend the night. The following morning, Tony developed a seal-like barking cough and a slight fever.

The next day, on September 14, his parents took him to the pediatrician where he was diagnosed with influenza and borderline pneumonia. Tony was sent home with a breathing machine and a prescription for Tamiflu. Later that evening, Tony’s temperature spiked to 105 degrees. Not wasting any time, Tony’s parents called an on-call nurse and then rushed to the hospital. Once they arrived, the doctor immediately ordered x-rays. After reviewing the x-rays, his parents were told an ambulance was on the way to take Tony to a better-equipped hospital.

Flu Hospitalization
After they arrived at the pediatric ICU Tony was put on a breathing machine that would force air whenever he took a breath. After more x-rays, the physician told his parents about the grave situation they were facing. Tony had a collapsed lung and needed a chest tube to drain the fluid built up in-between his chest cavity and lung. He also said Tony would be put in a drug-induced coma for the ventilator and eventually be put on an ECMO machine to oxygenate his body.

Unexpected Survival
Seeing Tony silently screaming for life was excruciating for his parents. His father fell on his knees on the cold hospital floor wailing, “Oh God, no!” Sanity was starting to seem like a dream from long ago.

Weeks went by and the doctor eventually told Tony’s parents that there was nothing more they could do for their son. They had done all they could and they were just out of options. Saying goodbye to Tony was something his parents’ hearts couldn’t or wouldn’t prepare for. But, Tony’s father didn’t want him to go without him knowing how much he enjoyed having him as his son, his buddy. He seized what he thought might be his last opportunity to say goodbye to his son. But he survived and is considered a miracle case.

There were days Tony’s parents thought they would never awaken from this nightmare that had besieged their young son. Hugh Estlinbaum, Tony’s father, has written a sincere and inspiring book, “A Line That Was Drawn” which describes his son’s harrowing experience with H1N1 influenza. Hugh hopes to continue these efforts, not only to raise awareness of influenza but also to offer health professionals a detailed look at what happens on the other side of their mask.

Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories
Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.


You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept