When Mercedes King started feeling sick, her parents weren’t worried. After all, she was a healthy, active 14-year-old and it was “just” the flu.
As the Daily Mercury reports, the teen from Mackay, Australia, had gone out with friends on Friday, August 25. By Sunday, she started feeling unwell and seemed to be suffering from the flu.GoFundMe
In the early hours on Tuesday, Mercedes’s dad passed her in the hallway and noticed that her symptoms had gotten worse. Worried about his daughter’s shallow breathing, he called an ambulance. Her father didn’t know it, but he’d sent Mercedes to the hospital just in time to save her life.
At the local hospital, doctors realized that Mercedes’s organs were shutting down. They put the teen into an induced coma and transferred her to a children’s hospital 600 miles away in Brisbane.
Now in the intensive care unit in Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Mercedes is no longer in a coma and can breathe on her own (through tubes). Doctors have diagnosed Mercedes with influenza B, sepsis, pneumonia, and a bacterial infection. The pneumonia has collapsed her lungs, and she now needs kidney dialysis.
It’s uncertain whether Mercedes will make a full recovery, but the outcome could have been much worse. Tennille Wise, Mercedes’s cousin, told the Daily Mercury that doctors recently shared how close Mercedes came to dying. If her father had sent Mercedes back to bed, or if she’d arrived at the hospital only four hours later, Mercedes would, “not [be] with us anymore.”
According to a GoFundMe campaign launched by Mercedes’s aunt, the family has gathered around the teen’s hospital bed. While Mercedes’s mother flew with her to the hospital, her dad and three siblings drove 13 hours to be by her side. Her aunt wrote:
“They are a devoted family who are extremely anxious about whether they can keep their family together in Brisbane during this crucial time.”
Wise told the Daily Mercury that family and friends are pulling together and praying for Mercedes:
“I think she’ll come out of this. I don’t know how long, or how she’s going to be, or if her kidneys are going to repair, but all we know is she has a big family and a lot of friends in her corner, so she’s fighting the good fight.”
Speaking on behalf of the teen’s mother, Wise told the Daily Mercury they hope their story will be a warning to other parents not to take the flu lightly:
“There was no sign of anything like this happening, she is a young, fit, healthy girl. … It happened really quickly and they almost lost their daughter.”
“If your child has the flu go and get it checked, because that’s all Mercedes had on Monday.”