Pediatrician encourages the H1N1 vaccine after daughter's death

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A 22-year old woman from Wilmington has died from the H1N1 virus.

After fighting for her life for 10 days, Allyson Blackstone, the daughter of Wilmington pediatrician Dr. Tom Blackstone, passed away early Monday morning at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Allyson went to the hospital after coughing up blood and was placed on a respirator in the Intensive Care Unit.

"Her lungs just got to the point where we couldn't get her in any position or any pressure where she could get oxygen to her blood," said Dr. Blackstone.

Allyson had not gotten the H1N1 vaccine, now Dr. Blackstone and his wife are now on a mission to get young people vaccinated against the virus.

"What she was going through was very traumatic," said her mother Marilyn Blackstone.

The young woman's parents say her death could have been avoided if she had been vaccination.

"She had the seasonal flu vaccine, but she was a student and a mom - because of the shortage she couldn't find the time to go," said Marilyn.

Dr. Blackstone is hoping his daughter's death will encourage others to get vaccinated against the flu strain.

"People are hesitant to take the flu shot because of all the bad news or side effects you can have," said Dr. Blackstone.  "This [death] is a great illustration of the side effects you don't want. It's from the disease, not the shot."

While those words of advice are too late for Allyson, her parents hope they will prevent what happened to them from happening to another family.

Funeral Services for Allyson Blackstone will be held Thursday morning at 11:00 at Port City Community Church.  She leaves behind a husband and a two-year-old daughter.

Allyson is the third confirmed death in the area from the so-called "swine flu".

In October, a pregnant woman from Brunswick County died from the virus. She was 25 years old. Also in October, a 53-year old man from Wilmington died from the H1N1 flu.

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