Swine Flu Attacks Little Girl's Heart

Alitza Ortiz-Sanchez died after collapsing in the emergency room

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    The little girl collapsed in the waiting room.

    The Swine Flu claims another victim in San Diego -- this time a healthy 5-year-old girl who collapsed in the emergency room when her heart simply stopped beating.

    Doctors say 5-year-old Alitza Ortiz-Sanchez arrived at Children's Hospital with her parents Friday night after flu like symptoms turned to vomiting.

    "She came to our emergency room after about 48 hours of illness and walked into the emergency room and while she was there became much sicker," John Bradley, M.D. said.

    Two hours after arriving, the little girl collapsed in the waiting room. Doctors say the virus attacked her heart and caused it stop beating.

    "She was taken up to the intensive care unit, but the problem was her heart kept stopping. She kept needing more and more rounds of medicine and eventually it became clear her heart just wasn't going to work," Bradley said.

    Doctors are calling it an extremely unusual and complicated case. This is the first time a child in San Diego County without any underlying medical issues has died from the H1N1 virus.

    Parents are on edge.

    "Very concerned, I mean I'm concerned about all my friends, their grandchildren and my grand daughter," Otay Mesa resident Joanna Hourani said.

    Alitza was a kindergartener at Howard Pence Elementary in Otay Mesa. Classes resumed Monday after a two-week fall break.

    The school's principal declined comment, but on the district website there is a notice to parents promising increased cleaning by the janitorial staff in areas frequently touched by students.

    Local health officials are reacting by stepping up their message to get kids vaccinated.

    "I can tell you that we expect and anticipate that more deaths will occur," County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. said.

    In City Heights, parents concerned about the vaccine gathered for a forum Wednesday where doctors dispelled any links to autism and made a push for safety. In fact, the doctors said if the 5-year-old victim had received the vaccine, she would likely still be alive.