KRON - SAN JOSE, CA (KRON) - The family of a California woman who died after contracting the flu is speaking about her death in the hope it will alert others to the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
Katie Oxley Thomas, of San Jose, was just 40 years old. NBC4 sister station KRON-TV spoke with her brother on Tuesday.
"I'm thinking, wow, this is a bad one, but no way did I think that she was going to die," Katie's brother Anthony Oxley said.
Oxley is talking about his late sister, who died on Jan. 4, just two days after coming down with the flu.
"They kept telling me she's young and healthy and she's going to fight this off, and I thought she would too, but it seemed like every 15 minutes something went wrong," Oxley said.
After coming down with the flu, Anthony says his sister, a mother of three, went to the emergency room at Good Samaritan hospital the next day, where she was admitted, diagnosed with pneumonia and then moved to intensive care where she died that very evening.
"We have two close family friends who are ICU nurses, one has been at Stanford for 26 years," Oxley said. "They helped us out when my mom was very sick one time, and they said in all their experience, they had never seen anything like this."
Anthony says his sister had gotten a flu shot. Having recently celebrated her 40th birthday, Katie was about to start a new job.
She went to the gym a lot. She ran marathons and was into yoga and healthy eating.
Her family wants people to take the flu seriously.
"This is something we definitely don't want to be the poster child for, but it's something we are dealing with, and we hope that nobody else has to deal with it," Oxley said.
Katie is one of 42 Californians under age 65 to die from the flu since Oct. 1.