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

The Romero Family

FFF Advocates:
Jennifer and Brian Romero
Place of Residence:
Newport News, Virginia
Date of Death:
February 26, 2020
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Madison Romero

Madison passed away from flu after her heart stopped beating for the fourth time.


Madison’s Flu Illness
Madison Lily Romero was a vibrant, friendly, and energetic 8-year-old. She was a soccer player who loved the movie Frozen, the color pink, and going to school. She had apraxia, a speech and neurological issue, but was otherwise a healthy child.

On Sunday, February 23, her 8th birthday, her mother, Jennifer, realized Madison had a fever. She had been tired over the weekend, but she had spent the prior days celebrating her birthday. On Monday, Jennifer took Madison to the doctor where she was diagnosed with H1N1 influenza. Her dad, Brian, was also sick.

Madison stayed home from school to recover because she still had a fever, but her parents were not worried. When her fever finally broke on Tuesday, Madison started struggling to breathe.

Flu Hospitalization
Her mom took Madison back to the doctor who found that her oxygen saturation was 48%. They immediately called an ambulance to take her to the emergency room. There, she was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia in both lungs, low blood pressure, and her heart was struggling to pump blood to the rest of her body.

Madison was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at a local children’s hospital. She was placed on a ventilator to help push air into her lungs. Her condition worsened when doctors found her lungs were bleeding, a lung collapsed, and her blood was not clotting properly. As her body attempted to fight off the infection, she also became septic.

Flu Stopped Madison’s Heart
Madison went into cardiac arrest four times. Although she was resuscitated three times, despite the medical team’s best efforts, she passed away at 2:29 AM on February 26th after her heart stopped for the fourth time.

Why Flu Vaccination Is Needed For The Whole Community
Although Madison and her family, including her brother Jaden, were vaccinated against flu that season, flu was still circulating through their community. Young children are particularly susceptible to flu-related complications. Among all age ranges, children are most likely to contract flu and spread it to others. Unfortunately, because flu vaccination rates for both children and adults are below target thresholds, influenza can still circulate within communities and cause severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. The more people are vaccinated, the less the disease can spread and fewer people become infected.

Madison’s parents and brother want others to be aware of how serious flu can be and to take the necessary precautions to help protect yourself and your family.

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