Maria Paniagua kept working two jobs even though she was sick. Despite a high fever and losing her ability to see clearly, Paniagua was focused on providing for her family. The California mom was seven-months pregnant with children at home and caring for her mother.

In an interview with KPIX 5, Diana Barron Gonzalez explained she tried to convince her friend to take care of herself:

“She kept working. And there was a time when she told me she could not see. And I told her she needed to go home and rest and sleep. But she was stressed about, you know, making a payment for her car and the rent or anything,”

By the time Paniagua was admitted to the hospital her baby’s heart had weakened. Doctors were faced with a tough decision. Gonzales recalled:

“It was so, so severe that they couldn’t do a cesarean when the baby’s heartbeat was not viable.”

If doctors were to perform a C-section to save the baby, they risked the life of Paniagua. Worst case scenario, both lives would be lost. According to GoFundMe set up for the family, doctors chose to save Paniagua as she had four children waiting for her at home.


As Gonzales told KPIX 5:

“If they would have operated on her with the cesarean, they would have lost her, or the child or both.”

Doctors placed Paniagua in a medically induced coma to help with her breathing after she developed pneumonia. The following day her baby, Dulce Estrella—Sweet Star—was stillborn.

Gonzales said at the time Paniagua was not aware her daughter had been delivered. Paniagua’s mother, Jocabeth Barraza Hernandez, said since realizing what happened, her daughter has been “really affected.”

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), pregnant women who think they have the flu should contact their doctor immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccination as the most effective way pregnant women can avoid catching the flu.

The APA states flu shots are safe for pregnant women and unborn children. The flu vaccine can even protect a baby from the flu for up to six months after birth.

Gonzales told KPIX 5 that Paniagua didn’t get her flu shot.

The GoFundMe account on behalf of Paniagua seeks to raise money to provide basic necessities to her family while she recovers in the hospital.

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