A 14-year-old Fort Worth girl who was "perfectly healthy" her entire life died suddenly Sunday after getting the swine flu, her mother said.
Chloe Lindsey died hours after she was rushed to Cook Children's Medical Center.
Tests confirmed she had the H1N1, or swine, flu, the Tarrant County Health Department announced on Tuesday.
"She was perfectly healthy," said her mother, Tammy Osborne. "I think she had been sick twice since she was 2 years old."
She first felt ill on Wednesday and went to the doctor Friday, Osborne said.
"They did the swab test, and it was positive for the flu," she said.
On Saturday night, her breathing became labored, and by Sunday morning, she could barely breathe.
"She was just gasping for air," Osborne said. "I asked her, 'Baby, why are you breathing like that?' And she said, 'Momma, it hurts."
Her mother rushed her to the emergency room.
Doctors tried to put her on a ventilator and another machine to help her breathe. The fluid in her lungs was so thick, it was pressing on her heart, doctors told her mother.
"Before they could get her hooked up to the machine, she arrested," Osborne said between tears.
She counted 24 doctors and nurses working frantically to give her CPR for more than 40 minutes, but they could not save her.
"It was just like she had the flu, and she was gone," her mother said.
The Fort Worth Independent School District released a statement that did not name Chloe's school for privacy reasons, but said custodians had thoroughly cleaned the school with sanitizers.
Chloe was in the eighth grade at Leonard Middle School, her mother said.
Osborne said school administrators should be more open about flu outbreaks so parents will be informed.
"It's just like when a kid gets lice," she said. "They send home a letter saying, 'There's a kid in the class that had lice. Please check your kids.' Lice won't kill you, but the flu killed my baby."
Counselors were on hand at the school to offer grief support to students and staff Monday, officials said.
A fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank to help Chloe's family with medical and funeral expenses.
Cook Children's Medical Center said two children being treated for flu-like symptoms were in critical condition Monday.
Doctors say the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Trouble breathing or congestion in the lungs are symptoms that might require immediate medical attention, doctors say.
Tarrant County Public Health officials said there is a continued presence of flu-like illnesses in the community.
Dr. Sandra Parker, Tarrant County Public Health's medical director, offered these tips on keeping children healthy this flu season:
- Talk with and teach your child about cough and sneeze etiquette and proper hand washing.
- Get your child vaccinated for seasonal flu and for H1N1 flu when the vaccine is available.
- Remind your child not to eat or drink after their friends at school or in day-care settings.
- If your child is ill, keep him or her at home. This helps everyone.
- And to parents of a child who is at higher risk of catching the flu or developing complications from the flu, be particularly mindful of your child’s health.