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Nine-Year-Old Florida Girl Nearly Dies from Misdiagnosed H1N1 Virus

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Rapid flu tests are used to determine if a patient has the illness so that doctors can immediately being treatment. However, in Hayli Murphy’s case, she almost died as a result of an incorrect diagnosis from a rapid flu test. In fact, some doctors are concerned that their peers are becoming too reliant on the rapid flu tests and are ultimately misled into not treating sick patients.

Hayli is 9-years-old and came with her mother to the emergency room on September 21, complaining of a high fever. She was given the rapid flu test, which showed a negative result. Nevertheless, Hayli’s mother brought her back to the ER the next day when her fever reached 104 degrees. Again, doctors gave Hayli a rapid flu test that came out negative. Instead, the doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia and sent her home with antibiotics. By the next day Hayli was so sick that her mother had to carry her into the ER. Finally, doctors administered Tamiflu, the antiviral used to kill the H1N1 virus, but Hayli still couldn’t get better. Instead, she spent the next 43 days in the intensive care unit, struggling for her life.

During her stay at the hospital, doctors gave Hayli a DNA-based test that proved that she was infected with H1N1. The DNA test is highly accurate, but takes more time to process. But now more doctors are urging their peers to use this type of test instead of the rapid flu test. In fact, according to some studies the rapid flu tests is only accurate 50% of the time. Furthermore, doctors urge patients to watch for the following signs in their children to determine if they might have the H1N1 virus:

  • · Fast or troubled breathing
  • · Numb or blue finger or toes
  • · Can’t touch chin to chest
  • · Symptoms improve and then return
  • · A fever with a rash

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that out of the 8 million people under the age of 18 who contracted H1N1 between April and October, 36,000 were hospitalized and 540 died. Please remember the tips above if you are concerned that your child has the H1N1 virus.

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  1. JILL PAUL says:
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    David, I was just informed by a friend of a friend, that her 20 year son did not wake up Thanksgiving Day. He apparently had the H1N1 two weeks prior but was still having trouble breathing even though there were no other symptoms – Mother thought the breathing symptoms were not significant. Autopsy was negative – no illicit drugs involved. Son said “good night” to Mother the night before his demise. One cannot be too careful when H1N1 is suspected. Just thought I’d point this out, that if anyone is having breathing problems, pneumonia has to be ruled out. This scenario is very tragic and probably could have been prevented. I sincerely hope my writing prevents one more death to H1N1. Thank you.