12-year-old Port Orchard girl dies from the flu
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- A 12 year-old girl is the second person to die from complications of the flu this season in Kitsap County.
Kitsap Public Health District said Wednesday that a child died last week from complications of the flu, but did not release any details.
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However, Pegy Lowery, of Port Orchard, said the child who died from the flu was her 12-year-old daughter, Piper. The Port Orchard mom says the progression of the illness was like a "freight train" that no one saw coming. Piper got a high fever Jan. 12 and four days later she was dead, Lowery said.
Home videos are now the only way Lowery can hear her daughter's voice. "She loved life," she said.
In an interview, Lowery said she took Piper to the doctors three times.
"She continued to have high fevers just like me; it was horrible," she said.
The doctors prescribed the mom and daughter Tamiflu but Piper's condition did not improve. At one point Piper had a 105 degree fever, Lowery said.
"She vomited up blood. I said Piper, 'I have to take you to Mary Bridge.' That's what the doctor said if she hadn't improved in 24 to 48 hours."
But when they got to the parking lot of the emergency room, Piper collapsed into her mom's arms.
"Her legs were spaghetti noodles. It just went that way and she said, 'Oh momma' and she collapsed in my arms."
Doctors tried to revive Piper for hours but were unable to save her.
"They let me lay there and hold her for hours and they were so kind to us," Lowery said.
Lowery is in shock. She said her daughter was a healthy child, but now dead from complications of H1N1.
"The flu attacked her kidneys, so it caused renal failure," Lowery said.
The Kitsap County Public Health District said the child's death is an indication that the worst of the flu season may not be over. In fact, they are seeing an uptick in flu cases and doctors are urging the community to get vaccinated. They say the flu season could possibly last until the end of April.
Lowery hopes people will heed that advice, anything to help someone else avoid the pain of losing a loved one.
"Want people to remember her smile, her smile and the freckles all over her face," Lowery said.
Piper's funeral is Saturday at noon at the Bethany Lutheran Church. The family says the public is invited.
Piper was a student at Manchester Elementary.