12-year-old boy dies after flu-like symptoms

- Few things hurt more than losing a child, and for Jessica Decent-Doll, the grief comes in waves.

"I'm not looking at what's going to happen in an hour, I'm not looking at what's going to happen in 10 hours, I'm looking at what's happening in this moment right now. That's all I can do," she said.

Her 12-year-old son Michael Messenger came down with flu-like symptoms last Tuesday. 

Jessica and her husband took him to urgent care the next day. A rapid flu test came back negative - Michael's vitals were perfect, the doctor prescribed him anti-nausea medication.

Michael had received a flu vaccination in December. Even so, when he got back home his condition worsened until Thursday.

"When I came into his room he was on the floor. His eyes were open and he was looking at me," Jessica said. "The only way I can describe the way he looked is he looked like a fish out of water. A fish trying to breathe."

They called 911 while Michael's dad performed CPR until medics arrived. A few hours later at the hospital, Michael died.

"I just, I still can't believe it. I really can't. I cannot believe this," Jessica said.

While it's unclear if Michael had the flu, the virus has been taking lives left and right.

"So far this flu season, there have been 20 pediatric deaths reported to the CDC across the country from the influenza virus," said Dr. Leonard Pollack from the Henry Ford Health System.

He says there's no explaining why otherwise healthy people are dying from the flu, and that it underscores the importance of vaccines and getting sick people to the doctor ASAP.

"There is medication that can be given to help try to shorten the course and severity but it really needs to be given in the first 48 hours of symptoms," he said.

And even though Jessica did everything right, she cannot help but feel she did not do enough.

"I still feel like I did everything wrong. The guilt because I'm a mom, I'm supposed to protect my kids and I couldn't," she said.

Her message to parents - if your child is sick, get them to the hospital immediately.

Jessica is still waiting for autopsy results to find out if it was in fact the flu that took her son's life. She and her husband will bury him Thursday.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories