Mother of boy who died of flu retains lawyer

'Wolfson Children's Hospital continues to express our deepest sympathy'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mother of a 4-year-old who died of the flu late last year has retained an attorney to help her get answers to why her son could die three days after first showing symptoms.

"He started getting sick December 20th and ... December 23rd he passed away," Amanda Arthur said. "So he went from being perfectly healthy, active 4-year-old to three days later, dying in the hospital."

Doctors say Ryan Arthur died of complications of influenza B -- Jacksonville's first pediatric flu death of the season.

The Centers for Disease Control says 59 children have died from the influenza in the United States since the fall.

His mother, Amanda Arthur, said she took him to Wolfson Children's Hospital because of a combination of his high fever and "a mother's instinct."  She says doctors gave him a breathing treatment and some steroids and sent him home.

Ryan continued to get worse, so she said she brought him back the next day, and he was admitted, but continued getting worse.  She said but the time the results of the blood work were back, her only child was dead.

"You know, watching him turn blue ... just watching the whole thing replay in my head is just like a nightmare," Arthur said.

The autopsy report confirmed that Ryan had no major pre-existing conditions.

Arthur said she wanted to speak out so that her son would be remembered as more than a statistic, and she retained a lawyer because she isn't satisfied the hospital did everything it could.

"There should have been more done -- more testing," she said. "I feel strongly if they had started everything Friday night, you known, I think that he would be with me today."

Arthur admits she wasn't able to get her son a flu shot this year, but she he had always been healthy and knew about germs and keeping clean.

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Her attorney said they are in the early stages of an investigation and they haven't decided if they'll file any kind of legal action against the hospital.

"Ryan's story is beyond tragic," attorney Janpaul Portel said. "Unfortunately, in this case, we don't know what happened."

Late Monday, Wolfson Children's Hospital released the following statement:

"Wolfson Children's Hospital is committed to providing compassionate, skilled, life-saving care to our young patients in a family-centered environment. It is very tragic when a child passes away due to severe illness, and we grieve any loss. This past December, a four-year-old boy named Ryan Arthur passed away despite constant medical care provided to him during his hospitalization at Wolfson Children's Hospital. Following his passing, physicians and Wolfson Children's Hospital staff met with Amanda Arthur twice, and she stated at the end of the second meeting that she had no other questions; yet, Wolfson staff once again offered to meet with Ms. Arthur at any if she had any other questions about Ryan. Wolfson Children's Hospital continues to express our deepest sympathy to Ms. Arthur for her loss.

"In our role as a child health advocate in our region, Wolfson Children's Hospital has worked with local media to discuss the importance of flu vaccine for anyone over the age of six months, good hand hygiene, proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, and other valuable disease prevention tips to educate parents and caregivers. We remain committed to helping families in our community by providing critically important information about child health and wellness."

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