With the recent death of a 21-year-old Utah man, the United States recorded its 10th fatality from the dreaded swine flu this week.
Christina Huitron told KSL-TV that she was forced to make the difficult decision Wednesday to take her son, Marcos Sanchez, off life support. Sanchez had been admitted at a suburban Salt Lake City hospital on Saturday after vomiting blood and acquiring a burning fever.
“I knew he was suffering,” Huitron told KSL-TV. “I don’t know how he was feeling, but I just knew I had to do it because he was passing away slowly anyways, and I didn’t want him to suffer anymore.”
Marcos, the state’s first swine flu death, had been overweight and had chronic medical conditions, including respiratory problems, that put him at risk, according to Dr. David Sundwall, executive director of the Utah Department of Health.
“This is not a person who was overall genuinely healthy,” Sundwall said. Officials are investigating how he contracted the virus but said he had not traveled recently.
Next door to Utah, a 13-year-old Arizona boy died Wednesday of swing flu. He had been in a Tucson hospital since May 10. His older sibling has also been hospitalized with the virus, while other family members have recovered, according to Pima County (Ariz.) Health Department spokeswoman Patti Woodcock.
Worldwide, the swine flu has sickened more than 11,000 people in 41 countries; 85 have died as a result, according to the World Health Organization. Mexico has reported 75 deaths, compared to the 10 in the United States and one in both Canada and Costa Rica.