Dad with Flu Forced to Have Both Legs and 9 Fingers Amputated


This year’s flu virus is no joke. It seems everyday there’s a new story about this year’s strain causing serious complications and even death.

According to the CDC, more than 30 children have already died due to flu complications. While the virus’s spread is still categorized as “moderately severe,” the federal agency warns that it could still get worse.

On Jan. 4, Brian Herndon, 51, of Fort Worth, Texas, spiked a fever greater than 104º and struggled to breathe. The father of two didn’t wait; he and his wife, Jaye Herndon, rushed to the emergency room.

Brian was diagnosed with the flu. He hadn’t gotten his flu shot.

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Just 36 hours later, Brian was airlifted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He’d been diagnosed with pneumonia and was falling in an out of consciousness.

But the Herndons were not out of the woods. Shortly after arriving at Baylor Hospital’s ICU, Brian went into septic shock.

Septic shock occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed with infection, resulting in a severe drop in blood pressure. The blood pressure becomes too low for proper oxygenation to extremities, and the CDC estimates that 40% of those who suffer septic shock don’t survive.

With that regard, Brian is fortunate — if you call going from perfectly healthy at the turn of the year to being a double amputee 6 weeks later fortunate. Brian also lost eight fingers and one thumb.

Without adequate blood flow to the limbs, these parts of the body quickly begin to die. If doctors cannot get ahead of the sepsis reaction quickly, amputation becomes the only life-saving solution.

It’s almost impossible to prepare for this sort of medical emergency, so Jaye has started a GoFundMe account on Brian’s behalf looking to offset the rising medical costs. After explaining Brian’s situation she wrote, “while this is a challenging complication, we can do this together.

“Our amount needed is rapidly growing but your help makes a huge difference. Every dollar will help show love to an amazing man.” Aside from unimaginable emergency amputation, Brian’s kidneys and lungs have been compromised.

According to the Sepsis Alliance, the reason a person’s immune system stops fighting infection and turns on itself is not entirely known. However, “some people are at higher risk of developing sepsis because they are at higher risk of contracting an infection.

“These include the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system.” If you fall within these categories, it’s highly advised that you get the flu shot (6mos. and older).

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Even those who don’t fall within these categories are strongly encouraged to get their annual shot. While the shot’s effectiveness ranges between 10-60%, it’s believed that getting the shot reduces the spread of the virus within communities.

Getting the shot, however, isn’t a magic shield. One should always practice proper sickness hygiene, which includes covering coughs, staying home when sick, and frequent hand washing.

I never get the flu shot, but have recently had surgery. With each horrific headline, I find myself considering a change in behavior.

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