A mother from Michigan is warning parents about influenza after her sixth-grader, who received the flu vaccination, suddenly showed symptoms a few weeks later and tragically died within days.

After 12-year-old Michael Messenger vomited while eating dinner with his family on Jan. 9, his mother, Jessica Decent-Doll, took him to an urgent care center near their home when he still felt ill the next evening. Physicians screened Michael for the flu, and a rapid test for the virus came up negative. With his vitals coming back normal, doctors gave Michael fluids and prescribed anti-nausea medication to ease his vomiting.1

However, he continued to get worse and on January 11th his parents found him in his room with his eyes open but totally unresponsive, struggling to breathe.

Michael’s father performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. He was immediately transported to St. John River District Hospital and pronounced dead about an hour and a half later.

The family is currently awaiting an autopsy report to determine what exactly killed their son. Although his mother confirmed that he had received a flu shot weeks ago.

His mother said, “Don’t wait, it’s all I can say. This flu or whatever is going around (my emphasis) this year is unbelievably dangerous.”2

Even though the CDC recognizes that their shot is only about 10% effective (although some reports have moved that number up to more than 30% for some people) this year, they are still urging everyone to get it.

GoFundMe account has been started for Michael’s family to help with funeral expenses and so far more than $12,000 has been raised.

We cannot imagine their pain. We are so, so sorry for their loss.

Sources and References

  1. People, January 20, 2018.
  2. The Times-Herald, January 16, 2018.