Severe flu case leaves one man paralyzed - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Severe flu case leaves one man paralyzed

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The flu does not discriminate, but this year its target seems to the younger crowd.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control finds people between the ages of 18 and 64 accounts for 61-percent of flu-related hospitalizations and that age group may be more susceptible since their vaccination rates are low.

One family found out the hard way on why you should get the vaccine, after one member had a stroke they believe stemmed from the flu.

"At 2 o'clock that morning, our world turned upside down," said Patti Martin.

Martin says her husband Phillip wasn't the kind to get a flu shot.  So they weren't surprised when the 46 year old was diagnosed with the illness.

"They had prescribed the Tamiflu and everything but he was just not getting over it and developed a terrible cough," said Martin.

That cough was nearly deadly.

"That morning at two a.m. he coughed and severed the artery to his brain," said Martin. "It took out the whole right side of his brain, within hours he had aspirated and lost his ability to swallow. He ended up on life support where he stayed continuously for the next 16 or 17 days."

It was a critical time for the family, not knowing from one hour to the next if Phillip would make it.

"Doctors did truly believe he was not going to make it," said Martin. "I've been in nursing all of my life and I've never seen this."

Against the odds Phillip pulled through.  

Now, after weeks of rehabilitation, he's home with his family under constant supervision, hoping to get his life back to what it was.

"He's lost all ability to swallow, right side paralysis. He's lost right side eye sight," said Martin.

While the road to recovery is long, one thing is for sure. "He will never go without getting a flu shot ever again," said Martin. "We're a strong family and we're gonna keep the faith and we're gonna make it."

Martin tells Channel 3 it will be up to a year before they know exactly how much of damage will be permanent.

In the meantime the family is raising money to add a handicapped accessible room to their home, in hopes to give Phillip some of his life back.

If you would like to help the family, click here.

If you would like to keep up with Phillip's progress, click here.

The national number of flu deaths among adults is not yet available, but 50 children so far have died.

There are about 4-6 weeks left in the typical flu season and doctors say there is still time to get vaccinated.

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