Ashley’s doctors had a hard time finding a hospital that had an available ECMO machine because it was the peak of the flu season and they were all being used.
Ashley was a 23-year-old nanny who worked with a family that had three kids. On December 20, 2013 Ashley came home from work with a few cold symptoms – runny nose, sore throat and a headache. The next day she had a high fever, so she went to an urgent care where they did a test for flu and sent her home with some medication.
Two days later she received a phone call from the urgent care saying she tested positive for type A influenza. The doctor said since it had been longer than 48 hours since her first symptom, she could not take Tamiflu. Luckily, she started to feel better for a few days. But, then on Christmas she spiked a fever of 103.8. She loved Christmas so much she said she was fine. However, the next day she was not better so her parents took her to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and H1N1 influenza, which had attacked her lungs. Her lungs were so inflamed and damaged that her only hope was an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that would let her lungs heal and provide oxygen to her organs.
Ashley’s doctors had a hard time finding a hospital that had an available ECMO machine because it was the peak of the flu season and they were all being used. They finally found a hospital that had one and she was transferred there and taken into surgery immediately. A short while later her parents were told she didn’t make it. On December 27, 2013, Ashley McCormick died from influenza.
Ashley was not vaccinated against the flu. Her parents want to share Ashley’s story so that no other family loses a loved one to this vaccine-preventable disease.
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