A 4-year-old girl died of complications from the flu and pneumonia just four days after she began to exhibit any signs of illness, according to her devastated family.
Ashanti Grinich, of Garland, Texas, became sick with cold-like symptoms following a family church outing on Sunday, Jan. 27, her parents told KTVT.
That Tuesday, Ashanti’s parents brought her to the emergency room with a 103-degree fever, where she was diagnosed with Influenza type A. Doctors sent her home once her fever subsided and recommend her parents manage her symptoms with over-the-counter medicines.
The 4-year-old’s mother rushed her back to the emergency room on Thursday, Jan. 31, when she began acting extremely lethargic. Ashanti was diagnosed with pneumonia, a serious lung infection often caused by influenza, and died later that day.
“She wasn’t even running fever at this time, we just knew she was very sluggish and she wasn’t eating,” Martell Grinich, Ashanti’s father, told KTVT.
“When I think about my baby, that tears me down man,” the bereaved father said through tears. “That’s what I was living for. I told her I wasn’t going to let (anything) bad happen to her.”
Ashanti’s death marks the first reported pediatric flu death in Dallas County of the 2018-2019 flu season. Her family said she had not been vaccinated against the disease.
Dr. Christopher Perkins, Director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services, urges those who have not done so already to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
“We cannot predict the intensity, severity or duration of the flu season from year to year,” he said. “The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your seasonal flu shot.”
Ashanti’s aunt, Nereida Olivarez, created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of her niece’s funeral. It has raised over $11,700 of its $15,000 goal at the time of publishing.