Protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Family Stories

The Marotta Family

FFF Advocate:
Joe and Serese Marotta (father and mother)
Place of Residence:
Syracuse, NY
Date of Death:
October 18, 2009
Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories

Joseph Marotta 

Joseph had not been vaccinated against H1N1 influenza because at the time the vaccine was not available in his community. 

 

On October 9, 2009, 5-year-old Joseph Marotta developed a sniffle and a cough. Later that day, Joseph became very lethargic and his breathing became labored. His parents called their pediatrician who suggested they take Joseph to the local urgent care. Once they arrived, the doctors and nurses decided Joseph needed to be immediately transported to the local children’s hospital. But, before they left a rapid test for influenza was performed on Joseph, which came back negative.

At the hospital, Joseph was sent to the ICU where the doctors treated him for breathing difficulties. They determined that evening that Joseph had pneumonia. The doctors also did a PCR test for influenza, which came back negative.

The next day, the doctors downgraded Joseph from the ICU to the regular pediatric floor because he showed improvement with his breathing. However, three days later, on October 13, the doctors stated that his cultures were growing influenza despite the PCR test being negative. At this time, Joseph was prescribed Tamiflu even though additional testing would need to be conducted to conclusively reach a diagnosis of H1N1. Two days later (and seven days into his hospital stay), Joseph finally had a positive diagnosis of H1N1 influenza.

Throughout Joseph’s hospital stay, his condition was up and down, but it never got to the point of being critical. He had a constant fever, which was treated with ibuprofen. The doctors were treating the pneumonia with two types of antibiotics as well as other medications like Xantac and Prevacid to counteract any gastrointestinal effects of the medications. Joseph also developed stomach pain, which the doctors attributed to H1N1 influenza and pneumonia, but diagnostic tests (e.g., x-rays) were conducted to rule out gastritis and pancreatitis. Joseph vomited intermittently throughout that week. He had no appetite and was on IV fluids.

However, later that week his low sodium levels became concerning to the doctors. His blood pressure dropped and his breathing became labored. The doctors sent him back to the ICU. In the ICU, doctors performed a multitude of tests. At that time, the doctors thought he had developed an autoimmune response. Over the course of seven hours, Joseph’s condition deteriorated rapidly; however, his lab work and other tests kept coming back normal. The doctor suggested Joseph be put on a ventilator to help his body take a rest (his low blood pressure was causing his respiration and heart rates to go really high). While the doctor was prepping things, his mother talked to Joseph (he had been coherent and talking the whole time). Then, all of a sudden, Joseph’s heart monitor went off indicating V-tach. He became unconscious. The doctors and nurses worked on Joseph for 35 minutes and for nine of those minutes they were able to briefly stabilize his heart rate, but ultimately after life-saving efforts, they were unable to revive Joseph.

On October 18, 2009, Joseph suffered a catastrophic intestinal rupture of approximately ¼ inch that caused him to go into shock and bleed out. It was determined during his autopsy that Joseph had developed a duodenal ulceration as a result of H1N1 influenza that slowly eroded his intestinal tract until it ruptured.

Joseph had not been vaccinated against H1N1 influenza because at the time the vaccine was not available in his community. However, Joseph’s parents are strong advocates for influenza vaccine and every year they get themselves and their daughter vaccinated against the flu.

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.
Newsletter

LOGO LICENSE AGREEMENT

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