No Prior Existing Conditions but Dead Anyway


    Who would think that a normally healthy woman would die so swiftly from influenza in June?

    Could you ever have imagined such a thing? No wonder her family and friends are in shock.

    So why did it happen?

    Quote from

    Barbara Davis, 48, was healthy just a week ago. She had dinner with her mother Josephine last Friday night. But just hours after that dinner, Josephine got a phone call.

    "My friend, he called me and told me Barbara was real sick. And I said, "Well, she wasn't sick when I left, so what's the matter?" Josephine Davis said.

    Barbara told her mother that she was ok. But the next day, things got worse. She had trouble breathing, and she was shaking. She could barely walk into the hospital.

    "She tried to talk to people, but she just couldn't talk," Josephine Davis said.

    Doctors treated her for two days, but they couldn't save her. They believe she died from swine flu.

    "They've never seen nothing like that, what she had. That infection just went through her body, attacking her kidney, her lungs, her liver. Everything," said Josephine Davis.

    The Milwaukee Health Department confirmed on Friday a Milwaukee adult with no underlying medical conditions died from swine flu, though they haven't confirmed Barbara Davis was that victim.

    Barbara's family knows all too well how serious swine flu can be.

    "Everybody is just in a shock. The people that I talked to today, they are frightened. Because it happened all of a sudden," Josephine Davis said.

    More than 1,800 people have caught swine flu in Milwaukee alone. The city's Health Department is stressing that if you are mildly ill with flu symptoms, you should call your doctor. If your symptoms are serious or if you have mild symptoms that are getting worse, you should see a doctor right away.

    Quote from

    The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said 48-year-old Barbara Davis died Thursday in the ICU after being diagnosed with the flu strain.

    The health department said, unlike Milwaukee's first swine flu victim, Davis did not have any "underlying medical conditions" that would have put her at a greater risk for the disease.

    This post was written by Dr. Gratten Woodsen, MD commenting over at flutrackers on this unfortunate woman's case.

    Quote from

    The decedent is described as having fulminate multi-organ failure that developed rapidly resulting in death 48 hours after onset and despite intensive medical therapy in an ICU including all the bells and whistles.

    The attending physicians told the mother that they had never seen anything like this before and I believe them. So did she. No one has seen anything like this since 1918. In 1918 many doctors said the say thing after dealing with their first cases of Spanish Flu and for them too it was a great surprise at least until those that didn't die from the virus themselves had seen it so many times that it was no longer unique.

    There are numerous descriptions from the 1918 pandemic that match the one above but no where else in medical history do we find anything remotely similar. This is why the doctors in Milwaukee were so shocked by what they saw.

    How many other North American victims had similar pathology? Why have the autopsy and clinical findings from the deaths in Mexico, the US and Canada been suppressed?

    I know from press reports that there have been other US deaths where multi-organ failure was present. Is this common among those who have died of Swine Flu or rare? Are the findings similar to those seen in 1918 or not?
    (hat tip flutrackers/skatman)
    Last edit by indigo girl on Jun 15, '09
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    About indigo girl

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 5,909; Likes: 1,741
    visiting nurse; from US
    Specialty: Too many to list


  3. by   Multicollinearity
    I wonder if she was obese. We've seen that connection with bad swine flu outcomes and obesity, haven't we?
  4. by   oramar
    My grandmother's 22 year old sister died under similar circumstances in 1918. She died quickly I was told. My grandmother age 16 or 17 got very ill and was sick for a long time(I have no idea how long it was I never asked). Her family gave her up for dead, she had sacrament of sick and began to improve. Got better, went on to marry and have 5 children and live into her 80s. My understanding was my grandmother's survival was very much in doubt for a time there. She really, really grieved for her sister. Her five daughters could speak about it as if they were there when the flu came, but none of them were even born. I take it they were told the story over and over again.
  5. by   indigo girl,4597958.story

    I feel so sorry for this family. This child was eight years old.

    Quote from

    The H1N1 virus may have claimed the life of an 8-year-old boy from south suburban Markham

    Mark Damper Jr. became seriously ill on Wednesday, he was hospitalized on Friday and died Saturday.

    Mark had no preexisting health problems. County health officials say test results point to the H1N1 flu virus as a probable cause in his death.

    Doctors are still determining if H1N1 was the sure cause of the death. The source of the virus is also under investigation.
  6. by   Katnip
    What bothers me is, has the Swine flu been around even longer? In February or very early March, two normal, healthy teen boys died suddenly of the flu. One was playing basketball and started getting sick that night. A few days later he died. Similar circumstances for the other boy. We weren't looking for H1N1 at the time. I just wonder if it's possible to have gotten an earlier start than we think.

    These stories above had very similar signs and symptoms of the 1918 flu, the way it would attack normal healthy people rather than the usual extremely vulnerable population. Honestly, I dread the coming fall/winter.
  7. by   oramar
    Quote from Katnip
    Honestly, I dread the coming fall/winter.
    I totally relate to that statement.
  8. by   ORTech2RN
    Controversy aside, i think a vaccination program this fall could stop H1N1 from being a killer pandemic much like it's 1918 ancestor.
  9. by   indigo girl
    San Diego County's first swine flu death reported

    Quote from

    A 20-year-old woman is the first person to die of swine flu in San Diego County, local health officials reported Tuesday.
    The victim had lived in the region, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

    She started having respiratory problems Sunday and went to the emergency room of a local hospital the next day, said Wooten, who wouldn't identify the medical center.

    The patient died in the emergency room without being hospitalized. Infectious disease specialists confirmed that she was infected with swine flu, also called H1N1 influenza A, just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    Wooten said the victim was apparently healthy before this illness and had not traveled outside the region.

    "This situation is an extremely painful reminder that ... the virus still exists in our community," Wooten said during a news conference.

    She added that people exposed to the victim have been identified and are receiving courses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

    The announcement comes just a week after county supervisors formally terminated the public-health emergency they declared in late April as a result of the swine flu outbreak.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    I wonder if she was pregnant.
  11. by   indigo girl
    Quote from multicollinearity
    I wonder if she was pregnant.
    I think that they would have indicated that she had an underlying risk factor without saying what it was.

    This is an unexplained death.
  12. by   morte
    Quote from indigo girl
    I think that they would have indicated that she had an underlying risk factor without saying what it was.

    This is an unexplained death.
    might it be possible that she was preg. very early, and not known herself ?
    the fact that it seems to be hitting prg women especially hard makes me curious about if something in the virus so closely matches something in the human body that it is slipping thru the defenses?
  13. by   indigo girl
    Quote from morte
    might it be possible that she was preg. very early, and not known herself ?
    the fact that it seems to be hitting prg women especially hard makes me curious about if something in the virus so closely matches something in the human body that it is slipping thru the defenses?
    It is possible, but, I am thinking that they would have done an HCG to rule out pregnancy. It is a simple test, and done all the time in the ED.
  14. by   Purple_Scrubs
    Wow, that 8 year old boy became "seriously ill" on wednesday and was not hospitalized until friday!?! I wonder if swifter intervention could have saved him. I think I will be insisting that the kids that come to my office with flu-like s/s get to a doctor, especially when school starts this fall.

    As for the woman with no underlying conditions...scary indeed. Come on with the vaccine! Although I wonder who will be in line to get it first. HCP? And if so, will I as school nurse be counted among them? So many unanswered questions, and I too am dreading the fall.