The Flu Killed a Healthy 21-Year-Old Man. Here's How That Can Happen.
Most people view influenza as a routine, if unpleasant, possibility each winter. But the case of a 21-year-old man in Pennsylvania is a poignant reminder that sometimes, the worst-case scenario is more serious than sick days and bed rest.
Kyle Baughman, an aspiring personal trainer living in Latrobe, came home for Christmas not feeling well, his mother, Beverly, told WPXI. His symptoms persisted after returning to work after the holidays. “I think he thought, ‘I just got the flu, I’ll be alright. I’ll go rest a little bit,'” Beverly Baughman told WPXI.
Just a few days later, however, Kyle Baughman died at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian hospital from flu-related organ failure, according to his family.
TIME asked Dr. Peter Shearer, director of the emergency department at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City (who was not involved in Baughman’s case), how and why the flu can turn fatal.