- Personal Stories
InFLUencer Jeb S. Teichman is Motivated by the Memory of His Son
Jeb S. Teichman, M.D., is a Families Fighting Flu medical advisor and practiced pediatric medicine for 22 years in Southern Indiana before moving into the managed care setting. He has served the Kentuckiana community for 35 years and will continue to do so in some capacity in retirement. Since losing his adult son, Brent, to the flu, Jeb has dedicated himself to raising awareness for annual flu vaccinations.
I miss my son Brent every day. We lost him to complications from the flu in November 2019 at the age of 29. He was in the prime of his life. As a pediatrician and father, I reminded Brent to get his flu shot each year. And while it was on his to-do list, like many people his age, getting vaccinated wasn’t a top priority.
When you are young, you feel invincible. Most young people don’t worry about getting sick, especially with “just the flu.” But as my family knows all too well, the flu can take the life of healthy young adults just as it can for people of all ages. In fact, in 2019, the CDC reported 2,669 flu-related deaths for adults 18-49 years old. That’s 2,669 deaths that perhaps could have been prevented with vaccination.
Brent had so much going for him when he got the flu. He loved spending time with his twin brother’s children. Brent had a serious girlfriend and was honing his cooking skills in order to become a chef. His future was bright with so much hope and promise.
Brent didn’t realize the seriousness of his flu symptoms for several days. My wife and I were out of town and unable to assess him ourselves. After taking himself to urgent care, Brent returned home. Unbelievably, he died at home just four hours later. I was on the phone with his roommate, a cousin, as paramedics confirmed his death. It was the worst moment of my life.
I know that sharing personal stories can help change behavior and influence the decisions people make. The loss of a child at any age is devastating. If I can help someone get their flu vaccination by sharing my story and prevent someone from walking down my same path, then I will tell it every single day. Brent is one of many stories that motivates Families Fighting Flu to continue their mission and promote annual seasonal flu vaccinations.
I encourage you to be a flu champion as the next flu season approaches and urge your loved ones to get vaccinated. Please remember, “it’s not just the flu.”