Northeast Phila. father speaks about son's flu ordeal

PHILADELPHIA, PA.; November 17, 2009

"Very innocent and happy," is how Michael Hirsch describes his 26-year-old son Kevin.

He was a hardworking employee at McDonald's, mentally challenged but always healthy physically - until a few weeks ago.

"I was having a really hard time getting his fever below 102," says Hirsch.

He says Kevin had a fever and headache for several days. He says their family doctor told them at first, he'd be fine... But his symptoms got worse.

Now he's in the ICU at Aria Health Torresdale in a medically-induced coma.

He has the H1N1 virus, and on top of that, pneumonia.

Doctors, says Hirsch, have been frank.

"They didn't hesitate to say your son is fighting for his life," he told Action News.

So now Michael is urging other parents to take the swine flu seriously. In Kevin's case it opened the door to a greater infection.

Michael reminds parents if your child is sick call your doctor, and call again if they don't get better.

He also urges parents to have children vaccinated.

The vaccine wasn't available before Kevin got sick. But if it had been -

"That would have been the difference between life and where Kevin is now."

And Kevin's family is now holding onto hope.

And prayers. A friend has set up a facebook page called 'Prayers for Kevin Hirsch.'

His father says, " When push comes to shove and when science goes as far as it can, then there's something else that you need. I think all the people who've prayed for Kevin have kept him alive, thus far."

Although Kevin's case is rare, there have been links drawn bettween H1N1 and pneumonia. And it can be deadly.

That's why health officials want to vaccinate everyone at a greater risk for problems, and vaccine is becoming much more available now.

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