For many of us, the flu shot is something we try hard to get if we have the time. The flu is annoying, but in our eyes, it’s not life or death. That’s why we’re stunned at the news that a 20-year-old woman died from the flu. It’s a reminder that the illness is more than just an inconvenience.
Alani “Joie” Murrieta was a hardworking mother of two boys. According to a profile by Buzzfeed, she was from Phoenix, Arizona and worked in a warehouse six days a week. Last Sunday, she started feeling a little sick, and was sent home from work to rest up. That Monday, she was still under the weather — so her sister took action and went with her to an Urgent Care clinic, where they diagnosed her with the flu and sent her on her way with a prescription for Tamiflu, to help battle any infection that the flu would cause.
Stephanie Gonzales, her aunt, spoke to Buzzfeed and told them that she asked Murrieta if they took an X-ray, but Murrieta said they didn’t. After taking the prescription, Gonzales noted that Murrieta “slept, but her family said she coughed throughout the entire night.”
Unfortunately, things got worse on Tuesday. After having some trouble breathing, she was sent to the hospital.
“When they checked her, they found her oxygen levels were low and did an X-ray that revealed she had a bad case of pneumonia from the flu,” Gonzales noted.
While they tried to save her, her health slowly began to decline. On her way to the ICU, her heart stopped — and she was declared dead that afternoon.
Gonzales noted that she “never thought that her getting the flu would cause her death,” and we feel the same way. It’s important to note that Murrieta was healthy prior to getting the flu, and didn’t have any conditions that would have caused her diagnosis to lead to the worst case scenario. Nobody thought that she would have died from the flu.
The family, who crowdsourced money for her funeral and young family, made sure that everyone knew of the positive impact that Murrieta left on the community, and made it a priority to mention how incredible of a mother she was to her two sons, the youngest who is just six months old.
Murrieta didn’t get her annual flu shot, and while it’s generally a good idea to get one at the start of flu season, it’s not clear as to whether or not it would have prevented her death. This is truly a devastating loss, and we want to send nothing but love to her family.