Connecticut mom Christy Pugh thought of the flu as a “bad cold,” until it claimed the life of her 6-year-old daughter earlier this year.
Pugh told “Today” that her daughter, Emma Splan, came home from school feeling a bit warm in February.
She had a runny nose and fever, but nothing too serious at the time. They brought her to a pediatric doctor, who diagnosed her with the flu, WRCB reports.
Due to a shortage of the flu drug, Tamiflu, she wasn’t given the medication and was sent home.
But her symptoms continued to worsen. Pugh said that her daughter couldn’t stop vomiting, which prompted them to bring her to urgent care.
She was given anti-nausea medication and once again sent home. But the vomiting didn’t let up.
When she couldn’t hold down anything, her parents brought her to Stamford Hospital. They recommended she be transferred to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
However, shortly after the transfer was completed, little Emma passed away. Pugh told “Today”:
“They laid her down, she coughed, and she died.”
Doctors later concluded that she died from a rare flu complication called myocarditis, an inflammation in the heart.
Dr. E. Vincent Faustino told WRCB:
“The bleeding into the wall of her heart was a very rare complication, so uncommon. Emma was a healthy child, who tested positive for influenza B … Everyone needs to get the flu shot.”
Now, Emma’s parents are encouraging parents to give their children the flu shot — even though it didn’t work for their daughter. Pugh told People:
“A lot of people wonder why we’re recommending the flu shot even though it didn’t work for us. But every time you get in a car you still get a seat belt. Why not stack the deck in your favor. Losing a child is the worst and I don’t want anybody else to feel like they could’ve done something more to save their child. We did everything right. We just weren’t lucky.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone above the age of six months should receive a flu shot annually.
Pugh is honored her daughter’s memory by starting Emma’s Plan, an effort to support causes that were close to Emma’s heart.