Health Team

Man, 79, fights to overcome flu at WakeMed

Posted January 9, 2015

— As the annual flu season nears its peak, the number of people going to local hospitals for treatment continues to rise.

At WakeMed, Donald Miller has been fighting for his life for more than a week. Miller, 79, first showed signs of flu on Dec. 28. By New Year's Eve, he was struggling to stand.

"He got up and didn't have a whole lot of strength in his body, and basically kind of slid onto the floor," Laurie Miller, Donald's daughter, said.

Donald Miller started taking Tamiflu that Sunday, and on Tuesday, he saw his doctor because his breathing had become raspy.

The doctor sent him home, but the next day, he was at WakeMed for more breathing treatments.

"(In) hindsight, we should have said he really needs to be in the hospital now," Amanda Miller, Donald's wife, said.

Soon after, Donald Miller's condition worsened.

"His heart just kind of went into a fibrillation, and they had to shock him," Laurie Miller said.

He was in intensive care for the next week, and this week, he started showing signs of improvement.

"He's like a different person, in fact," Amanda Miller said. "Just a while ago, we laughed because we got a little bit of the old Donald."

Laurie Miller battled flu-like symptoms herself the week of Christmas, and Amanda Miller was sick the day Donald Miller left for the hospital. They're better now and hoping for his full recovery.

"He's a strong man, and he'll do what he needs to do," Amanda Miller said.

She and her husband both received the flu vaccine, but public health officials have said in recent weeks that the current vaccine is not well-matched with the H3N2 strain.

Thirty people in North Carolina died of flu last week.

According to figures released Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 54 people have died of flu across the state since October. That includes seven earlier deaths that were only recently confirmed as being caused by the virus.

The bulk of the deaths, 42, have been among people age 65 or older. Five of those who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, another five were ages 25 to 49 and two were children.

Many hospitals and community clinics across the state have restrictions in place to keep people under 18 and those with flu symptoms – high fever, body aches and chills, cough or sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose – from visiting patient areas.

WakeMed started restricting patient visitations on Friday. No visitors under the age of 12 or anyone who is experiencing fever, diarrhea, cold or flu-like symptoms are permitted in patient-care areas.

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  • Wake1 Jan 12, 2015

    Hope he continues to improve!