Lufkin Memorial reports 1st confirmed H1N1 death of 2014

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A spokesperson for the Memorial Health Systems of East Texas confirmed Monday that a 49-year-old man died last week after being admitted to the hospital for flu-like symptoms. Tests confirmed that the illness was H1N1, or swine flu.

Yana Ogletree, a spokeswoman for Memorial, said the test results came back positive for H1N1 Friday.

When asked if Woodland Heights Medical Center had any patients currently being treated for H1N1 or any patients who have died as a result of the illness, spokeswoman Jennifer Stevens said the hospital is "committed to practices that rpotect the private health information of all its patients."

"As a result, we are not able to provide specific information about individual patients," Stevens said. "We can report that the hospital has seen some patients with flu-like symptoms, and we are taking steps to provide those patients with quality care while also taking the precautions necessary to prevent spread of the illness."

However, health officials in Tyler said Angelina County is reporting three total flu deaths.

In late December, a spokesperson for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital confirmed that a man in his 50s died of the H1N1 virus on Dec. 28.

East Texas News did some digging and learned that the man was an inmate at the Nacogdoches County Jail when he was first admitted to the hospital for flu-like symptoms on Dec. 5. A Nacogdoches County Jail spokesman confirmed that the man's name was Carol Keith Moore.

The illness began as bacterial pneumonia. According to jail officials, Moore spent the night of Dec. 5 at the hospital, and was released back to the jail the next day. However, because jail administrator Joe Evans was concerned that Moore could still be contagious, the inmate was sent back to the hospital.

Evans said within 24 hours, Moore was placed in a medically induced coma to drain fluid from his lungs. Family and friends said Moore remained on a respirator for 22 days.

The jail was notified Friday, December 27th, one day before Moore died, that he tested positive for H1N1. The death is a sobering warning that the H1N1 flu can take an otherwise healthy individual down in a matter of days.

A spokesperson for the Nacogdoches County justice of the peace who performed an inquest on a woman who died on Dec. 20 after she started exhibiting flu-like symptoms and developed septic shock said the woman is being tested for the swine flu virus. The justice of the peace ordered an autopsy on the woman.

According to an East Texas News story out of Tyler, East Texas Medical Center has a confirmed case of H1N1 as well. Two Gregg County residents died as a result of the H1N1 virus December. Authorities said neither of the people received a flu shot.

"It's not too late to get your flu shot even though it will take about two weeks for the flu shot to take full effect," Beth Knight, a spokeswoman for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, said in a previous interview.

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