Loading articles...

Quebec mother urging people to take pandemic, influenza seriously following death of toddler

MONTREAL (CityNews) – A Quebec mother is speaking out after her 3-year-old daughter died from influenza.

“She was so lively. She danced, she moved, she talked a lot, she really had a lot of energy and then she died a few day later,” Nancy Bouchard explaining her daughter Charlotte.

Bouchard says Charlotte was otherwise healthy and contracted the virus and quickly deteriorated.

“The first day she had fever, it was normal fever. There was no sign of anything like that and then the second day she was in a coma.”

Charlotte was transported from the Outaouis region to Ste-Justine hospital in Montreal. Tests found her liver had failed and the flu virus made it to her brain. She didn’t have much time to live.

“I was in shock but I understand its not the fault of the doctors, they make everything to help her and the doctor said that I can hold my daughter in my hands.”

Charlotte died Jan. 17, 2019, just three days after symptoms appeared.

“To have a healthy child die is extremely rare but it still happens, would it have been preventable maybe? But what we know is that children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of being admitted and dying of influenza than the general healthy population,” Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, Pediatric infectious diseases specialist.

Children targeted in this year’s vaccination campaign at Ste-Justine’s are only patients who are at risk, suffering chronic heart or lung conditions, diabetes and other high-risk conditions.

The immunization is especially important now among the ongoing pandemic.

“At least if you protect them against a fever and flu, they won’t have to come and be seen at the hospital to say, ‘is this COVID? is this influenza?’ You will decrease their need for emergency care and hopefully hospitalization,” explained Dr. Quach-Thanh.

With flu season starting later this year as more people stay home, Bouchard and her family of four aren’t taking any chances, getting vaccinated themselves, even if it isn’t necessary among healthy people.

“I know it’s not universal, it’s not the vaccine (of) miracles. I just want to prevent that my children have the same thing like my daughter,” explained Bouchard. “When one of my boys has a fever, even if it’s nothing serious, I have some fear.”

Fear that’s heightened amid COVID-19. Bouchard is urging people to take the pandemic and influenza seriously.

“Too many people think the flu is nothing. But its not that. We have to learn about that and I don’t want anyone to lose their children like this.”