A family is left devastated after an undiagnosed illness took their 17-year-old son.
Jonah Smith was an active teenager like any other. A junior in high school, he had recently begun working at a fast food eatery.
Other than a complaint of a sore back, Smith had not exhibited any symptoms of any illness.
On the day of his death, Smith briefly complained of feeling ill and then collapsed in his sister’s car.
Smith was flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and declared brain dead from a lack of oxygen to his brain.
According to Gayle, Smith’s mother, “He didn’t look like he had a cold. He didn’t act sick. He was just Jonah, busy everywhere.”
After some tests, the doctors declared he had the flu. His family did not know he was sick.
Despite a diagnosis of heart failure and the flu, the exact cause of the heart failure remains a mystery.
“They did toxicology tests and at one point, they thought he may have had an undiagnosed heart problem. They determined that wasn’t the case. I can’t even tell you how many tests they did. The only thing they know for sure is he had influenza 1a and pneumonia,” His mother said.
The flu usually presents with fever, fatigue, sore throat, and body aches as symptoms. If infected with the flu, it can take up to four days to show symptoms.
“We did hear his heart went to an 11-year-old little boy,” his mother said. It will take six months to get the full results from the medical examiner on what happened to Jonah.
In the meantime, they are glad that as an organ donor, Jonah is saving lives.
In the same area of Phoenix, Arizona, Alani Murrieta, a mother of two, died of the flu back in December 2017 unexpectedly. She checked herself into a hospital and died a day later.
In this instance the woman who died was showing symptoms, but family says it was rare for her to get sick. Like Jonah, her heart stopped as well.
While Murrieta might have shown symptoms, her death was no less sudden for her family. An astounding 36,000 people die of the flu in the United States each year.
Please take care of yourselves and get the vaccination.
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