Family says H1N1 took life of young pastor - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Family says H1N1 took life of young pastor

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LAFAYETTE, TN (WSMV) -

Jonathan Martin was a pastor, a brother, a husband and father to two young daughters.

The 36-year-old started to feel sick with a cough and fever around Dec. 1.

"With me being a physician assistant, I said, I think you have the flu. And I said, let me take you to the doctor, and he didn't want go," said Martin's wife, Andrea Martin.

By the end of the week, Martin's wife says he was begging her to take him to the emergency room.

While generally older and younger people are more susceptible, doctors say the flu this year can be just as serious in young, healthy adults like Martin.

"What folks constantly forget, I'm afraid, is that influenza can take a perfectly normal person, a child or an adult, and strike them and put them in the hospital within 48 hours," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Doctors say more than 95 percent of flu cases are H1N1, and they don't want anyone else to become a victim.

"It can be prevented by vaccine," Schaffner said.

Martin had not taken a flu shot, though, which is something his family regrets.

Martin dedicated his entire life to ministry, preaching every Sunday at the Willette Christian Church.

His family hopes that even in death his story can be a lasting message that a simple shot can save a life.

A fund has been set up to help the family. Donations can be made to the "Andrea Martin Special Account" at Macon Bank and Trust.

On Wednesday, doctors said they have seen a big spike in flu cases across Middle Tennessee this week, and they only expect it to get worse. Besides the flu shot, doctors are offering the usual advice to slow the spread of the virus, including washing your hands often, avoiding big crowds and staying home if you feel sick.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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