9-year-old Marietta boy dies after quick bout with flu - KMSP-TV

9-year-old Marietta boy dies after quick bout with flu

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MARIETTA, Ga. -

A Marietta family mourns the loss of a 9-year-old after a fast-moving and intense battle with the flu.

It started out like an everyday cold, but Nicholas Bratsis quickly got much, much sicker.

On Friday, the healthy, fourth-grade honors student at Murdock Elementary began having pain in his chest. By Saturday night, Nicholas was dead.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the number of children who die from flu-related complications every year. So far this flu season, 110 pediatric deaths have been reported.

Nicholas' mother says she knew flu was out there. She didn't know the virus could go from zero to 60 almost overnight.

Toula Argentis Bratsis said that when Nicholas first got sick, she knew the flu was going around.

"I had heard that it affects young children, and older, I just never thought it would affect my son," Bratsis said.

Nicholas missed a couple of days of school, then he seemed to get better and went back, but by that Thursday he was feeling ill again.

"The nurse called and told us to come and get him, he wasn't feeling well, so my husband did, he took him to the doctor, diagnosed him with the flu," Bratsis said.

By Friday, Nicholas' was vomiting, saying his chest hurt.

"I was asking my husband, ‘did they check his chest?'  He said, ‘Yes!  The lungs were clear. The heart was fine,'" said Bratsis.

On Saturday, they took Nicholas to the emergency room at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
    
"And within a couple of hours, he was fine, his color had come back," Bratsis said.

Nicholas was moved to the intensive care unit and his brothers Michael and Athan and their dad went home. That's when Nicholas began fighting for air.

"I told them, ‘He's not breathing, you need to help him!' And they quickly came in and put on an oxygen mask, he was shooing it away, he didn't want it," Bratsis said.  "The last words he told me were that he was going to die."

But, even then, Toula says she didn't realize this was it.

"Finally I asked them, ‘Are you telling me I might lose my son tonight?'  And they said, 'Yes,'" said Bratsis.

That night, despite an hour and a half of CPR, Nicholas Bratsis died. He'd been sick for just 48 hours.

"His system was not strong enough to fight this bacteria, this virus.  It was not a good match for his body, it was just too strong.  It just took over," Bratsis said.

Toula says a rapid flu test at his pediatrician's office confirmed Nicholas had influenza. They still don't know if was the virus, a secondary infection or a combination of the two together that took his life.

The boy and his brothers did not get a flu shot this year. She said they've never gotten them because they have gotten sick.

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