Health News

12-Year-Old Dies From Flu Misdiagnosis

Photo from Jeremy Alcaraz

A 12-year-old girl in California was sent home from school after throwing up, and was diagnosed with the flu. A few days later, she was dead.

Alyssa Alcaraz’s family thought that the girl had a “bug” of some sort, even a mild case of flu, Fox News reports. Keila Lino, Alcaraz’s mother, decided to bring her daughter to a nearby clinic, where doctors confirmed the suspicions that she had the flu.

Doctors prescribed nausea medicine and cough syrup. Lino said,

She’s been sick before with a cold and flu that has lasted longer. It was nothing new for us. Like any normal teen, she just wanted to be left alone on her phone.

But in the next four days, Alcaraz’s health got worse. The seventh-grader felt exhausted, had no appetite and had difficulty breathing. Medication, rest and medicines were not helping, so Lino rushed her daughter to an emergency room. A doctor then told Lino that the girl’s oxygen levels were low and Alcaraz was immediately transferred to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, California.

Lino said, “The doctor wanted to rule out meningitis, though she wasn’t complaining about her neck, he didn’t want to rule it. We were starting to do that procedure to test her fluid when she coded.”

Alcaraz went into cardiac arrest as a result of septic shock from a strep infection in her blood, which Lino had no idea her daughter had. Within a few hours, Alcaraz was dead.

Days after, Lino learned the cause. She said, “A couple days after she passed, we got a call from the lab at the funeral home. We were shocked by it. Doctors said it was the flu, but it was a bacteria infection due to strep that shut down [her] organs all within three days.”

She wasn’t surprised her daughter was misdiagnosed, Lino said, as the entire nation has been having a particularly difficult flu season.

“I know right now with the flu season clinics, hospitals, everyone is just busy and assuming that’s what everyone has,” Lino explained. “But it’s more than that. In order for us to know, with simple blood work, it could have been caught. Something so simple.”

Alcaraz’s father, Jeremy, thanked the people who have shown their support. A GoFundMe account raised $12,350 as of Thursday morning to cover funeral expenses. “She loved to sing. She was a smart girl, beautiful,” he said.

 

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