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

The McCarthy Family

FFF Advocate:
Jim and Amber McCarthy (father and mother)
Place of Residence:
Elk Horn, IA
Date of Child’s Death:
December 29, 2014
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Ayzlee McCarthy

Less than 10 hours after arriving at the ER, 3-year-old Ayzlee passed away from flu. 

On Christmas Day 2014, Ayzlee Maeliana McCarthy was another typical 3-year-old running around having fun with family and opening up gifts. Friday, December 26th was another day spent playing with her favorite Christmas gifts and presents from her birthday just a few weeks before, December 16. But on Saturday morning, December 27, Ayzlee complained that her legs were hurting. Her mom called the clinic and scheduled an appointment, thinking she had a urinary infection because she just didn’t want to move.

In the clinic, although she didn’t have any respiratory symptoms, Ayzlee was swabbed for the flu. It was determined that she was positive for both influenza A and influenza B. She also had a fever of 102. She was sent home with Tamiflu and some for the rest of her family. Mom was told to treat her symptoms. A little over 24 hours later, Mom took Ayzlee to the emergency room for dehydration symptoms and increased heart rate and confusion. There were still no respiratory symptoms.

Less than 10 hours later, on December 29, 2014, she passed away from septic shock, secondary to influenza. Everything happened so fast and really without warning. What seemed like a little “bug” where she was achy with a fever, turned into her struggling for breath and fighting for her life. Ayzlee had received the flu vaccination in the fall, along with her siblings Easton, 10, and Irelynd, 7, and her parents. Although the flu vaccine that season was not as effective, Ayzlee’s entire family still all got vaccinated. It is something they have always done and because of Ayzlee, will continue to do.

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