'Good son' dies from flu raging from East to West coasts

by Karen L. Willoughby |

Mikey Guallpa, 6, died from the flu while waiting to be seen at a Kentucky hospital.

FLORENCE, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – Mikey Guallpa, 6, died in his daddy's arms Dec. 20, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Florence.

After taking their son to their family doctor that morning, Mikey's condition worsened. His parents, Jose Guallpa and his wife Zara Jimbo, rushed him to the hospital's emergency room where they were told "several times" by the receptionist to "Wait your turn," in the waiting room, Jimbo told Lex 18 television news.

The first-grader at Florence Elementary School had suffered for two days with traditional symptoms of "the flu," including a fever, vomiting and diarrhea. In the hospital, Jose Guallpa held his son, rocking and crooning to him while vainly asking for help

Suddenly the boy began shaking, vomited on his dad, and went limp. Jose Guallpa stood and started shouting, and at that, got the attention his boy had needed before he died.

"They should have got to him earlier, when we were asking for help, when we were begging to, you know, 'He needs help,'" Jimbo said. "He's not okay, but they were looking at us like we were crazy."

The family attends Cristo Rey Church in Florence, where Mikey recently had his First Communion.

Guallpa shook his head sadly when asked about Mikey. "I don't know what else to say about him," Guallpa said to the television reporter. "He was just a good son."

(United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC))

St. Elizabeth Hospital released a statement about the child's death. "We are unable to comment or release any specific information. As an organization, St. Elizabeth takes protecting the privacy of our patients' protected information very seriously."

Tragic as is the sudden death of Mikey Guallpa, he's not the only child lost to this flu season's virulent attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Dec. 20 at least 15 children and at least 837 others across the nation died from the flu or complications.

"Widespread influence activity was reported by 36 states," the CDC reported. Guam, Puerto Rico and 10 states reported influenza activity over a broad (though not widespread) area.

About 10 out of every 100,000 people in the United States have been hospitalized with the flu; the rate for people 65 and older is 38.3 per 100,000, up from 28.4 per 100,000 for the same week last year, the CDC said.

"The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System increased again this week and was at the epidemic threshold of 6.8 percent," the CDC stet report continued.