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The Pisani Family

During the fall of 2001, Antonio celebrated his first birthday. Several weeks prior he had been hospitalized with a respiratory illness that made his breathing extremely labored and made him excessively dehydrated from fever and vomiting. Antonio spent several days in the hospital where he was surrounded by an oxygen tent and provided with treatments to aid with his breathing, which fortunately he responded well to and was able to go home for close follow-up with his pediatrician.

That November Antonio fell ill again. His mother became very concerned about his condition – throughout the day he vomited and had a very high fever. As the night wore on, he seemed to become more listless, but early the next morning Antonio’s mother thought his fever had finally broken. She called the pediatrician to say he felt cold and clammy, but still so very listless.

The pediatrician directed his parents to rush Antonio to the hospital. Once in the emergency room, he was given oxygen and intravenous fluids. While in the hospital, Antonio’s parents learned that being cold and clammy was not a sign the fever had broken, but a dangerous sign that his blood pressure was too low. He was placed in a crib with an oxygen tent and every hour, 24 hours a day a technician provided him with breathing treatments. Three days later Antonio was discharged to a very nervous set of parents with instructions about how to assess his breathing function in the event that he became ill again. Fortunately, Antonio made it through the rest of that flu season without any major illnesses.

Flash forward one year to the impeding flu season. Antonio’s mother placed a call to the pediatrician to inquire about his need for a flu shot. She was informed that there was a shortage and the vaccine was available only for high risk children. His mother explained that Antonio was hospitalized twice the year before and she thought he might be high risk. It wasn’t until this time that she was informed that Antonio had been hospitalized due to complications from the flu, and because he was also recently diagnosed with asthma he should receive the flu vaccine. This was the first time his parents learned that Antonio’s hospitalization was related to influenza.

Today, Antonio is a healthy school-age child who gets vaccinated against influenza every year, as does his entire family. His parents realize that many families do not recognize how quickly influenza can escalate into a serious illness and urge all of their friends and family members to receive annual vaccinations.


FFF Advocate:

  • Amy Pisani (mother)

Place of Residence:

  • Mystic, CT


  • One-year-old, 2001

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