Dad rages after 4-year-old daughter dies of flu complications

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Dad rages after 4-year-old daughter dies of flu complications

The girl died of pneumonia days after a flu diagnosis. The latest CDC report has 25 states at "high" flu activity and outbreaks are closing schools.

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Sonja Haller, USA TODAY Published 10:44 a.m. ET Feb. 11, 2019

Put on your own oxygen mask first. In other words, take care of yourself or you can't be a fully engaged parent. Parents who deprive themselves of rest, food, and fun for the sake of their kids do no one a favor. "People feel guilty when they work a lot, so they want to give all their free time to their kids," says Fred Stocker, a child psychiatrist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in Kentucky. "But you risk getting squeezed dry and emotionally exhausted." A spa weekend may not be realistic, but it's OK to take 15 minutes for a bath after you walk in the door. (A tall request for a kid, yes, but a happier Uno player goes a long way.) Running ragged between activities? Ask your child to prioritize, says Taylor. She may be dying for you to chaperone a field trip but ambivalent about your missing a swim meet—the ideal amount of time for a pedicure.

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A Texas father is mad.

His 4-year-old daughter, Ashanti Grinage, developed a high fever on Jan. 29. She was taken to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with the flu and sent home with medicine, according to father Martel Grinage.

Two days later, she died. Grinage told Dallas news outlet WFAA that doctors failed to diagnose his daughter's persistent cough as pneumonia.

"On Tuesday when she went to the doctor, she had pneumonia, and we didn't know," he said.

The Garland, Texas, family said their 4-year-old didn't receive a flu shot. Her death came amid a flu season that hasn't seemed as urgent as last year's because there have been fewer deaths. Last year, flu complications claimed the lives of 180 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But the flu is starting to hit some communities hard. Schools are closing and administrators are struggling to find enough substitutes to replace sick teachers.

MORE: Kids 6 months and older need a flu shot now, doctors warn

The family took Ashanti back to the emergency room on Thursday when she was experiencing heavy fatigue and coughing up mucus.

"The doctors told me when I got there that her lungs were full of pneumonia and that they did the best that they could do," Grinage said.

Grinage told ABC 13 he wished he had asked doctors to check his only child for infection the first time he was in the emergency room.

"I'm mad at myself. I'm mad at everyone. I'm mad at the hospital. I'm mad at God," he said. "I can't lie to you."

Talk about the risks associated with meeting online “friends” in person. Adults should understand that the internet can be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends. However, for safety and to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by an adult you trust. In any case, the child should always have their parents’approval first. In addition, it is also a good idea to have a fail-safe plan in place such as calling them shortly after the meeting begins so that they can bail out if they feel uncomfortable.

Flu outbreak closes four schools

The latest CDC weekly report shows that 28 children have died this flu season.

But New York City and 24 states, such as Colorado, Indiana and Virginia, are reporting "high" activity. Flu outbreaks are responsible for closing schools in at least four states.

Some of the school administrators said they are using the closure time to clean and disinfect the school of flu germs.

MORE: You've probably never heard about this flu symptom


Kemper County in eastern Mississippi is calling off classes on Monday, Feb. 11, and Tuesday, Feb. 12 because of the flu. Superintendent Jackie Pollock says 100 students with flu symptoms have been absent from the elementary and high school over the last week. Pollock said closing schools will allow students to rest and visit doctors.

In north Mississippi, the North Tippah School District and the South Tippah School District canceled classes Friday because of the illness. Staff used the closure to clean classrooms to remove germs that cause the flu. News outlets reported as many as 350 students absent because of the flu in the school districts last week.

North Carolina

A North Carolina school system canceled classes for students and staff Friday, Feb. 8 because of flu. Ashe County Public Schools superintendent Phyllis Yates said 452 students were out sick from the system’s five schools and early learning center. Another 38 students who came to school were sent home. Thirty teachers were out sick and substitutes couldn’t be found to replace them. Yates said work crews would disinfect the schools while classes were canceled.

Normal rules apply. Discipline the child who stutters just as you do your other children and just as you would if he didn’t stutter.


An elementary and middle school in northern Alabama were closed the three days last week because the district was having trouble finding substitutes because of staff absences. Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith told news outlets that families of Moulton Elementary School and Moulton Middle School should use the time to recover.


Three Idaho school districts closed earlier this month, one district after a huge number of its students were absent because of the flu.

Firth, Shelley and Fremont school districts in eastern Idaho have closed their schools because of a record number of absences for one or more days, the Idaho State Journal reported.

The Fremont School District shut down the day after a third of its study body didn't attend because of "flu-like illnesses," the newspaper reported.

"It falls out of the air and lands on a shopping cart, remote controls and doorknobs," Eastern Idaho Public Health surveillance epidemiologist Mike Taylor said of the flu virus. "Wash your hands frequently. When you leave a public area, sanitize and wash your hands."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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