A four-year-old in Iowa nearly died and has lost her sight after contracting the flu before Christmas. Her parents are speaking out about the tragic turn of events with the hopes of encouraging parents to vaccinate their children against the flu.
Jade DeLucia, 4, did not get the flu shot and came down with the flu right before Christmas. At first, it seemed that she just had a bug. Over a few days, she had a series of low-grade fevers, but medicine brought it down easily and Jade was happily playing.
However, on December 23, Jade lay unresponsive in her bed and she was rushed to the emergency room. Jade began having seizures and was taken by helicopter to the Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in order to be treated. Jade ended up spending nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit there.
Unfortunately, the flu had affected Jade’s brain.
“They said she had significant brain damage,” Jade’s mother, Amanda Phillips, told CNN. “They said our child might not ever wake up, and if she did, she might not ever be the same.”
Jade was treated with steroids to help bring down her brain swelling. On New Year’s Day, she finally woke up and continued to improve.
The family, though, noticed that Jade wasn’t responding to her favorite stuffed animal or other items they put in front of her. Because of the effects on her brain, Jade could no longer see.
“She is lucky to be alive,” said Dr. Theresa Czech who treated Jade. “She’s a little fighter. And I think she’s super lucky.”
Czech told CNN that it was possible Jade could get her vision back.
“In about three to six months from now we’ll know,” she told the outlet. “Whatever recovery she has at six months, that’s likely all she’s going to get.”
On January 9, Jade finally returned home.
“My brave girl, who cannot see, but is loved by so many,” shared her mom on Facebook on their first night back at home.
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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