Hospitals overwhelmed with flu patients

Published: Jan. 30, 2018 at 2:08 PM EST
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"He just loved everybody, he was a very loving kid," mom Samantha Baynes said.

Baynes' 7-year-old son, Kevin Jr., started feeling sick Friday.

"He just wasn't getting any better," she said. "So we took him to the Gretna ER."

They say doctors in Gretna, Virginia, diagnosed Kevin with the flu and strep throat and sent him home with antibiotics. Sunday morning, his family awoke to find him unresponsive.

"He wasn't breathing" dad Kevin Baynes said.

A medical examiner is determining Kevin Jr.'s exact cause of death.

The flu would make it Virginia's first pediatric death from the virus this year. At least 19 states have reported at least one pediatric death related to the virus this season.

Children are just a fraction of the thousands of flu patients inundating hospitals nationwide.

Atlanta's Grady Hospital has seen as much as a 25 percent increase in overall emergency room visits so far this year. Dr. Hany Atallah, the chief of emergency medicine at Grady, says the hospital called on a mobile emergency department based nearly 250 miles away to help tackle the increasing patient demand.

"At 500-plus patients a day... you physically just need the space to put a patient in. This is going to help solve that," Atallah said.

Carolina's Health Care system, which owns the mobile hospital, says they expect it will be stationed in Atlanta for at least the next 30 days. Doctors will begin using it to treat a surge of flu patients flooding their emergency department.

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