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Influenza escalates to heartbreak in Lakes area

By Staff | Dec 4, 2016

Franki Andersen of Milford lost her daughter, Brittany, 20, to a sudden onset of Influenza A?earlier this year. Andersen said, “Britt presented on Thursday, March 24, 2016, with a sore throat in the afternoon, so she picked up some Thera Flu for Sore Throat and Cough.”

Andersen said Brittany’s cough was minimal at that time.

“Friday morning she was dropped off at my place from her father (we were separated) and when she got to the door, she stood in the doorway and I asked her ‘Are you coming inside?’ Her reply was ‘I don’t feel myself.’ She came in and I asked if she had eaten breakfast, thinking with her taking the medicine at 6 a.m., she hadn’t eaten yet and she said no. So I made her eat some toast and drink some juice.”

Brittany went to rest. A few minutes later, her mother checked on her and Brittany said she was, “okay.”

Andersen said, “When I went to wake her at noon, she was unresponsive. That is when 911 was called and from there it was a blur.”

Emergency workers told Andersen that Brittany had no pulse before they took her by ambulance to the hopital.

EMTs were pumping on her chest doing CPR, and said Brittany’s eyes were “fixed and dilated,”?which Andersen later learned meant Brittany had no brain activity at that point.

Brittany was life-flighted to Sioux Falls. Andersen’s brother and his family were able to get to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls right away. By the time Andersen and her fiance arrived, the head nurse said, “prepare for the worst.”

Late that night, medical personnel convinced Andersen to go to her hotel across the street, and they would call her when it was time to make a decision about Brittany. They were unable to get her oxygen level or blood pressure to a life-sustainable level.

In the morning, they called Andersen back to the hospital.

Andersen said, “A minute later, I heard the code blue for room 2610-Brittany’s room. I took off at a run and when I got there, a whole team of people were working on her. The doctor and lady were on each side of me at that time as I looked on in horror and denial at the situation in front of my eyes going on.”

But when?Brittany coded a second time, Andersen said, “I?felt a calmness come over me, and I believe it was my Mom letting me know, ‘It’s time to let her go.’

Andersen said they called time of death at 6:30 a.m., Saturday, March 26,2016.

Since then, Andersen has connected with other “flu Moms,” and a foundation she developed in?Brittany’s memory, the Blaze it Forward Foundation, held its first 5k at Arnolds Park in September, raising money for area residents to have access to flu shots and to raise awareness of Influenza.

Andersen has written a book, Influenza A Took my Daughter, available on Amazon as an e-book. It is free with Kindle Unlimited and $9.99 list price, with proceeds going to raise awareness and get flu shots to those in need in the Lakes area.

The Blaze it Forward Foundation can be found on Facebook.