St. Louis, Missouri—What one family thought was the flu, took a near-deadly turn for a 2-year-old girl.
Now she’s clinging to life at St. Louis Children’s Hospital with a 50-50 chance of survival.
Layla Thomas is going on nearly 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit, on March 27, and the illness started with what appeared to be simple flu symptoms.
“She had just a runny nose, maybe a little cough but nothing out of the ordinary that we hadn’t seen before,” said Layla’s aunt Jessica Kile.
Layla’s mother was too emotional to speak on camera, but Kile said on March 18, Layla’s symptoms escalated. She was rushed to the hospital with a 107-degree fever.
Her parents and family have been by her side 24/7. She has a very long road of recovery ahead of her and will be in the hospital for at least a few months.
“They had her hooked up to everything imaginable,” Kile said. “She’s completely unresponsive and is making small eye movements.”
Doctors diagnosed Layla with necrotic encephalitis, a rare complication of the flu now attacking her brain.
Doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital say her chances of survival are 50-50. Please take a moment to keep this little girl and her family in your thoughts.
“We are still seeing a high number of flu cases in the St. Louis area.,” said Dr. Rachel Orscheln, who specializes in infectious diseases.
Orscheln said early-warning signs like sleepiness, seizures, and loss of appetite could mean something more serious.
“Even with appropriate anti-viral treatments some of these severe complications can result in permanent disability or even death,” she said.
For now, all the family can do is wait, hopeful their bubbly 2-year-old is the exception.
“She’s really loving, just a cuddle bug and we’re just praying that we get that back,” Kile said.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses.
Diagnosed With The Flu
An 8-year-old boy from Rockport, Texas passed away hours after he was diagnosed with the flu on Feb. 17 and discharged from the hospital.
The boy, Martin Campbell, began to show flu-like symptoms on the night of Feb. 17. His mother, Jasmine Solis, told KIII that he was diagnosed with the flu after a visit to the emergency room at a hospital, where he was given medicine and then discharged.
“It was just like a normal fever,” Jasmine told the news outlet. But hours later, her son “was pretty much turning purple” and she called 911 while her boyfriend tried to revive him.
“Before help came, it was just already too late,” she said.
Ohio Girl Dies After Flu Diagnosis
Just days following Martin’s death, a 10-year-old girl from Ohio died late Feb. 20 after she was diagnosed with strep throat and the flu on the morning of Feb. 19.
The girl, Sable Gibson, went into cardiac arrest on the afternoon of Feb. 19, her mother Holly Rauch Gibson wrote on Facebook.
Sable was airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital but died the following night.
“It is with shattered hearts that we share that our sweet Sable Paige took her first steps into Jesus’ arms tonight,” the Facebook post read. “Our hearts are completely broken.”
Mason City Schools, where Sable attended, released a statement on Feb. 21.
“Please join us in keeping the Gibson family in our daily thoughts and prayers as they navigate these very difficult days,” the statement read.
“We have additional counselors at Western Row today who are working with any student who may need help processing,” the public school district added. “It’s moments like these that we come together as a community to walk alongside one another and care for each other.”
The Gibson Family is grateful for the community's outpouring of love. Sable's funeral will be on Saturday, February 23,…
Doctors from the nonprofit Kettering Health Network based in Dayton, Ohio say Sable’s death is a reminder that it can happen to any flu patient, according to WDTN.
“The flu alone is enough to give you horrible viral phenomena and respiratory failure. Can you get other things on top of it? Absolutely,” Dr. Nancy Pook told the news outlet.
The immune system is weakened from the flu, which leaves the body vulnerable to bacteria that can cause secondary illnesses, WDTN reported.
In an opinion article previously published by The Epoch Times, Jeremy Hammond wrote: “Many if not most people diagnosed with “the flu” may not have actually been infected with the influenza virus at all, given the large number of other viruses that cause the same symptoms and the general lack of lab confirmation.”
NTD News reporter Mimi Nguyen Ly has contributed to this report.