Local News

Cary dad says daughter died from flu complications

Posted February 7, 2011 5:41 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2011 12:21 p.m. EST

— Katie Taylor was passionate about animals, having volunteered with several local animal rescue groups, and her dreams of becoming a veterinarian had never been closer to becoming reality.

Two weeks ago, she was accepted at Meredith College on an academic scholarship.

“She was very happy and very excited about the outlook of her future,” her father, Roy Taylor, said Monday. “She was well on her way to fulfilling her lifelong dream.”

But the 18-year-old Cary High School senior died Thursday night from complications related to the flu.

Roy Taylor said his daughter started feeling sick with a runny nose and cough about two weeks ago. By the middle of last week, she was dehydrated and went to the local emergency room.

He said the flu virus attacked his daughter's heart.

“The surgeons said they wanted to implant, or place, a mechanical heart in her because of the amount of damage that had been done to her heart from this virus, and she just wasn't able to make it through the surgery."

"It's very sad that it would take a young life that quickly with really no serious warning signs,” Roy Taylor added.

Zack Moore, an epidemiologist with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said he couldn't speak specifically about Katie Taylor's case but says people with no apparent underlying conditions sometimes do die from the flu.

"About one out of five times, we don't know why this person had this bad outcome or why they died as a result of their infection, Moore said.

DHHS says that, since the end of December, at least 10 deaths across the state have been blamed on the flu.

Health officials say the flu shot is the simplest way to help prevent the virus and that it is not too late to get one.

Katie Taylor's father now wishes he had pushed his daughter to get a flu shot. He wants to send a message to do so to other parents.

"There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled,” he said.

A visitation will be held Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, in Cary. Plans are also under way for a memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Carolina Tiger Rescue, 1940 Hanks Chapel Road, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312.