Four-year-old Najee “Junior” Jackson tragically passed away as a result of complications from the flu. The young boy from Pueblo, Colorado, is the second child to die in the state this flu season.
Before Junior came down with the illness, two of his brothers were also diagnosed and were taken to the hospital with sky-high fevers, as reported on the GoFundMe page set-up for Najee’s family, which has since been deleted.
“After being in the ER most of the day, I returned home and prepared dinner for my kids (4 boys total),” they wrote on the page, according to CafeMom. “Once dinner was finished, I bathed my kids and sent my 5 yr old and Junior (4 yrs old), into their room to put on pajamas.”
At the time, Junior’s mother, whose name has not been released, believed her youngest child did not have the flu. “Though my other sons tested positive for the flu and although Junior was sick barely sick on sat, he was never tested,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Four-Year-Old Becomes Second Child in Colorado to Pass Away of the Flu
Before tucking him into bed, the mother checked on Junior, but found him “lying on the floor” and “pale.” She called 911 and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.
Najee was taken to the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs, where he tested positive for Influenza B and Paraflu. Doctors determined he had a seizure, which caused an anoxic brain injury, meaning his brain didn’t receive oxygen for a few minutes. Doctors believe it was caused by his fever or from “losing his airway,” according to the GoFundMe page and CafeMom.
Junior was placed on life support and died several days later. Although Junior’s mother’s name has not been released, the Colorado Times Recorder alleges that in the days before his death, Facebook comments were reportedly made by the mother in a group called Stop Mandatory Vaccination.
“I am in desperate need of help with what to do for my poor kiddos!” she wrote on January 31. “My 5-year-old and my 10-month-old [were] both premature babies. They have been tested positive for the flu [and] I am terrified. My 4-year-old had a febrile seizure at only a temperature of 102. The doc prescribed Tamiflu […] I did not pick it up, I am scared and freaking out.”
A commenter recommended that she try “taking Vitamin D and C, Elderberry, Zinc, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.” Two days later, Najee’s mom wrote to the group again, asking for more advice.
“Any other tips? I’m terrified for another seizure,” she wrote. “Please, no hard comments. I am a momma freaking out all alone in this with a family who believes in none natural ways, so I’m going through alone, and they are making me feel bad for not putting him on Tamiflu.”
In response, people recommended that she give him vitamin C and boil thyme, among other natural remedies. According to CafeMom, infectious disease specialist Dr. Allison Bartlett told UChicago Medicine in January 2019 that “the majority of the 185 children who died from flu last year did not receive the flu vaccine. Studies have shown that flu vaccination cuts the risk of flu-associated death by half in children.”
Najee’s mother said that two of her four children received the vaccine, though it’s unclear whether or not Najee received one. “I’m hurting so bad right now and so is his dad and brothers,” the mom told KKTV. “Our whole family is hurting and it feels like we failed him because we did what we had to do.”
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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