LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - A mother is still grieving almost a week after her teenage daughter became one of the six victims of a swine flu-related death in Louisiana. She said the many of the unanswered questions she has about her daughter's death compelled her to share her story.
Just a senior in high school, Taylor Brian had her whole life ahead of her. By all accounts, she was a typical teenage girl. It's the most confusing and troubling part of all this for her family. "Taylor swam all the time," said her mom, Ruthie Brian.
The 19-year-old senior at Denham Springs High School was focused on getting ready for the prom when something else took hold of her. At first, she was treated for run-of-the-mill strep throat. "She got better over the weekend. She felt better," said Ruthie. Once Taylor recovered, Ruthie let her get back to more exciting things, like planning for prom. "Taylor was unbelievable, amazing. You can ask anyone," she said.
A few days after returning to school, Taylor started feeling sick again, so Taylor's family took her back to the doctor. "We went back and she didn't get any better," said Terry Root, Taylor's uncle. Then, she was diagnosed with bronchitis and we treated that, so I don't think you can visit the doctor any more often than we did." Eventually, Taylor was sent to the hospital and put into intensive care. It was after three negative tests for Type A flu and days after her pneumonia diagnosis that doctors finally found she was infected with the H1N1 virus or swine flu. "By the time they were treating Taylor for H1N1, it was long past the effective period for the medicine," Root said.
Taylor's mom wonders if strep throat compromised her immune system, making her more susceptible to swine flu. She also wonders what would have happened if Taylor was treated for the flu sooner or if treatments like Tamiflu have saved her. "She would want us to help someone else. That would be her," said Ruthie.
Since Taylor's death, state health officials have significantly sped up the process for getting flu test results back. Taylor's family hopes researchers and doctors continue to learn more about the virus. To that end, Taylor's mother gave all of her daughter's medical records over to doctors.