Dallas County health officials report 14 flu-related deaths

Dallas County health officials are reporting 14 people, including one child, have died from the flu so far this season. Four of those deaths were reported just this week.

The family of 34-year old Patricia Jackson-Hill says she was diagnosed with the flu just a few days before her death. She went to see a doctor last Saturday, and things quickly spiraled from there.

Patricia Jackson-Hill was a mother to five girls, including Keith Steinhour’s 5 and 6-year-old daughters.

Steinhour says Jackson-Hill went to the hospital Saturday night with some mild flu symptoms, but nothing seemed unusual.

“Last time we talked, I think she coughed once or twice,” he recalled. “I didn’t even barely think she had a cold.”

By the next day, Jackson-Hill was on a ventilator on life support. 

“Three or four days, she’d get the tubes out. Week or so, she’d be home. Should be all over with,” Steinhour said. “About 2:30 that morning, her brother called me and said she was gone.”

Steinhour says the mother of five tested positive for the flu and was undergoing tests for a possible underlying medical condition that may have contributed to her sudden death.

“I would’ve never went home. I would’ve sat up there if I would’ve known that,” he said. “The way they were talking was a couple days and she’d be home. Everything would be normal again. It was pretty rapid.”

So far, 14 people have died from the flu this season in Dallas County. The health department says some had underlying medical issues.

“We started out as an earlier season than we’ve probably seen in ten years,” said Dr. Phil Huang, director of Dallas County Health & Human Services.

County health officials say what’s unusual is they are seeing more flu Type B, which typically affects a younger population. Type A generally affects older people and people with chronic conditions.

“We’re now starting to see more of the A,” Huang explained. “And so we don’t know how the season’s going to play out for now, but it’s been different.”

Health department officials say it’s not too late to get the flu shot. They are urging people who still haven’t to do so.

A free flu shot clinic is being held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Pleasant Grove Christian Church.