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4-Year-Old Nearly Dies After Getting Flu

November 17, 2009, 6:12 PM by Kelli Grant

4-Year-Old Nearly Dies After Getting Flu
There's been a lot of talk about the H1N1 flu and just how serious and life threatening it can become. But every year, thousands more die from the seasonal strain of influenza. It's a fact one KELOLAND family now knows only too well.

The nightmare began for four-year-old Gabby Miller and her family last spring. In March, she came down with a 104 degree fever. She was lethargic and just didn't have the energy of most children her age. Doctors diagnosed her with influenza A and because her condition was so critical, she was flown from Rapid City to Sanford Children's Hospital.

"When I got down there, Sarah said they're gonna give her a 50-50 shot of living. That's when it got real serious. I never thought that would be even be possible," Gabby's father, Bart, said.

The flu had turned into pneumonia and Gabby's little body was having a hard time fighting the virus.

"When she was put on the ventilator, she was at the highest setting that they have ever used on her age, on a child," Gabby's mom, Sarah, said. 

Eighteen different medications were also needed to keep her alive. She couldn't be held and all her family could do was wait for the virus to run it's course.

"Just watching her and knowing there's nothing you can do to fix it, is really tough," Sarah said.

"You're helpless.  You don't know what to do, all you can do is pray. That's what I said. People asked me what to do, I said just pray. That's all we knew to do," Bart said.

Gabby was on a ventilator for 19 days and spent five and a half weeks in the hospital. But on Easter morning, those prayers were answered.  Gabby began to feel better.

"I'm very thankful my wife was into it and got her there in time because if not, she wouldn't have made it through the night. They told us if we would have stayed at home, she would have stopped breathing at home," Bart said.

Gabby has made a full recovery and this flu season, she and her two sisters have already been vaccinated against the seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Her mom and dad say it's a simple step, along with a parent's intuition, that can save a child's life.

Coming up Tuesday night on KELO-TV after the 6 o'clock news, tune into our HealthBeat special, "Steering Clear of Sickness." We'll tell you all you need to know about seasonal and H1N1 flu, how to keep those germs from spreading and what else is going around KELOLAND. Again that's at 6:30 Tuesday night on KELO-TV.

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