4-Year-Old Girl Left Blind From Contracting The Flu After Parents Skip Flu Shot

4-Year-Old Girl Left Blind From Contracting The Flu After Parents Skip Flu Shot

After witnessing the heartbreaking ordeal of their daughter, her parents recommended that all parents get their kids vaccinated.

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A four-year-old girl from Iowa is now blind from contracting the flu as she was not vaccinated. Jade, who did not receive her flu shots this season, contracted the virus a few days before Christmas. Her deteriorating condition led to her being admitted to the ICU at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, for almost two weeks, reports CNN. "If I can stop one child from getting sick, that's what I want to do," confessed her sad mother, Amanda Phillips, adding, "It's terrible to see your child suffer like this."



Phillips first realized on December 19 that their daughter had contracted this virus when she noticed that Jade wasn't her cheery-self. "She'd say, 'Mom, I don't feel good,' and we'd cuddle on the couch," recalled her mom. Over the following days, Jade experienced a mild fever which was easily brought down by medicines and Jade quickly went back to her former self, playing merrily with her elder sister, Catalina. "She was running around, having fun, eating normally, asking for snacks," remembered her mother. "It was just -- it's a little bug, she'll get over it." However, things were about to take a drastic turn soon. "There wasn't any sign that would've told me that something was seriously wrong with her."




On December 23, Jade's dad, Stephen DeLucia, tucked his daughter into the bed while Phillips was working as an assistant manager at a Dollar General store. The following morning the family was getting ready to spend Christmas Eve at Phillips' parents' house but Jade hadn't woken up. So, Stephen went to check up on Jade and was horrified to find that his little baby girl was unresponsive and running a high fever. "I yelled at him -- I was like, 'We have to go. We have to go to the emergency room. This isn't right. Something's not right with her," said Phillips frantically. Once the family arrived at the Covenant Medical Center, Jade began experiencing seizures. Her body suddenly began shaking uncontrollably and her eyes had rolled to the back of her head. 

Given the severity of her condition, doctors decided that Jade needs to be transferred to the children's hospital at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, which was 80 miles away from there. Since there was no time for an ambulance, the child had to be airlifted to the hospital. On Christmas day, Jade's parents were told that their girl had contracted Influenza B which had affected her brain. "They said she had significant brain damage. They said our child might not ever wake up, and if she did, she might not ever be the same," said Phillips.



On December 31, a pediatric neurologist, Dr. Theresa Czech, made a specific diagnosis: acute necrotizing encephalopathy or ANE, a complication of the flu which is caused due to viral infection. After being prescribed some steroids, the inflammation in Jade's brain had considerably reduced and Jade could once again breathe on her own but could no longer see. "It affected the part of her brain that perceives sight, and we don't know if she's going to get her vision back," said Dr. Czech. "In about three to six months from now we'll know. Whatever recovery she has at six months, that's likely all she's going to get."



Phillips had gotten her daughters the flu shots in March but didn't realize she needed to get her daughters vaccinated again for the new 2019-2020 flu season, reports NBC. "She is lucky to be alive," said Dr. Czech, one of Jade's physicians. "She's a little fighter. And I think she's super lucky." Her family who has been spending most of their time caring for their daughter have now created a GoFundMe page to help them bear the expenses of the treatment.



Flu has been wreaking havoc on the lives of children who are otherwise healthy. Every year, several kids succumb to the flu and most of them had not received a proper shot, as per the CDC. While many have to be hospitalized for their critical condition, there are some who sadly don't make it through. The ongoing flu season has been considered to be one of the worst in decades by the United States' top infectious disease doctors. The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, revealed that the illness is set to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season. Unfortunately, this phase was considered one of the deadliest flu seasons in more than four decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Explaining this foresight, Fauci said, "The initial indicators indicate this is not going to be a good season -- this is going to be a bad season."


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