Portland family says H1N1 virus killed their sister - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland family says H1N1 virus killed their sister

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

This flu season is turning deadly and one family says their loved one died from the H1N1 virus.

The Lincoln family says their loved one was admitted to Adventist Medical Center with the flu in mid-December and four days later, they say, she died.

"She was my baby sister," said Daryl Lincoln.

Daryl Lincoln has a lot of good memories of his sister Vernitta Lincoln, who was only 53 when she died.

"Vernitta was real down to earth and everybody liked her. She had no enemys," said Daryl Lincoln.

On Dec. 19, Vernitta ended up in the hospital because of the H1N1 virus.

Daryl said Vernitta had been taking over-the-counter medications for almost two weeks but they didn't seem to work.

One night Vernitta passed out and never regained consciousness, Daryl said.

"The doctors were saying that both lungs had pneumonia in them and that she somehow had contracted the H1N1 virus," said Daryl.

Vernitta eventually died in the hospital.

Her family says she had other health issues in the past, like chronic asthma and a heart attack several years ago, but her family blames H1N1 for starting her most recent problems.

"This being so close to me with it being my sister, it has been hard and it hurts really bad," added Daryl.

The Oregon Public Health Division reports a spike in people who've had to be hospitalized with the H1N1 flu.

Adventist Medical Center in southeast Portland is seeing more and more people suffering from the virus.

"A lot of them are coming through the emergency department and they're able to go home but many of them are being admitted to the hospital," said Carolyn Kozik, with the Adventist Medical Center.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says this strain of the flu is affecting the younger population, under 65 years of age.

"So that's a concern because these people are healthy people walking around our community and they're thinking it won't happen to me," added Kozik.

Adventist Medical Center is now preparing for more H1N1 patients.

It even has a plan in place to add extra nurses and doctors if needed.

The hospital has prepared baggies that have tissues and masks for visitors who are feeling ill and hand sanitizer is in place at every entrance.

Meanwhile, Vernitta's family says she never got her flu shot.

"I advise anyone who hasn't had a flu shot, to get one," added Daryl.

Doctors stress it's not too late to get your flu shot if you haven't gotten one already, because the peak of the flu season hits in February.

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