- FFF Advocate:
- Latasha Haynes
- Place of Residence:
- Tacoma, WA
- 34 years old, 2017
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In January 2017, Latasha (“Tash”) was a healthy, active 34-year-old with a flourishing photography business that took her all over the world. Aside from her busy professional life, Tash was also a very active volunteer, helping to empower young women through various educational programs. All of that changed suddenly when Tash fell ill with what she thought initially was just a little bug she caught from another family member. Over the next few weeks, Tash’s symptoms began to worsen. She developed a cough, was exhausted all of the time, and had no appetite.
In mid-February, Tash finally sought medical attention when it was difficult for her to even get out of bed in the morning. She went to a local urgent care where they tested her for strep throat (it was negative) and sent her home with some pain relief medicine. Over the next week, Tash’s symptoms did not resolve, but continued to worsen. She visited the emergency room two times that week where she was told she had high levels of inflammation likely brought on by a virus. She was administered fluids and sent home.
After returning home, Tash’s symptoms did not resolve. Rather, she woke the next day (March 1) with very labored breathing and intense pain throughout her whole body. Back at the emergency room, the doctors indicated to Tash that something was wrong with her heart, but they needed to do more tests. Tash was admitted to the hospital that day and her condition quickly deteriorated over the next 24 hours. Her heart rate became quite elevated and her blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels. Tash was literally near death. Over the next four days, Tash was given two blood transfusions and slowly began to improve. She spent six days in critical care and 16 days total in the hospital.
Tash’s medical diagnosis was pneumonia and congestive heart failure caused by myocarditis and pericarditis brought on by the flu virus. She had tested positive for influenza.
Since her illness, Tash has regained much of her health, but has some lasting medical conditions (e.g., arthritis) as a result of her illness. Coincidentally, prior to her experience with heart failure, Tash had worked with the American Heart Association as a professional photographer. She now knows firsthand how important heart health is, and how dangerous influenza can be. Tash is now an outspoken advocate for women’s health and stresses how important annual flu vaccination is for everyone six months and older.
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