Philadelphia man dies after long flu ordeal

PHILADELPHIA, PA.; November 17, 2009

Mr. Hirsch thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

He says Kevin was a happy-go-lucky young man. He was physically healthy before getting the H1N1 virus.

Mr. Hirsch urges others to be vaccinated against H1N1, if not for yourself but to protect others.

A single father of three says he's always done everything he can to keep his children safe and healthy, and now he urges other parents to do the same and have their kids vaccinated against the virus.

"Very innocent and happy," is how Michael Hirsch described 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," said Hirsch in a story Action News broadcast a day before Kevin died.

Hirsch 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.

Kevin was admitted to the intensive care unit at Aria Health Torresdale and put in a medically-induced coma.

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

Doctors, said Hirsch, were frank about the diagnosis.

"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 that eventually claimed Kevin's life.

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."

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

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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