Knoxville man advocates for flu shots while wife battles H1N1

Knoxville man advocates for flu shots while wife battles H1N1

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Leeann Samples, 46, was rushed to the emergency room on January 2 and immediately admitted to the ICU, where she's been in a medically-induced coma on a ventilator for the last three weeks. (source: family photo) Leeann Samples, 46, was rushed to the emergency room on January 2 and immediately admitted to the ICU, where she's been in a medically-induced coma on a ventilator for the last three weeks. (source: family photo)
"It is scary to walk into a room and see your 46-year-old wife who is healthy as all get out completely laid up, unable to move, unable to breathe unless the machine's breathing for her, and it's simply because she got the flu," said Leeann's husband Don. "It is scary to walk into a room and see your 46-year-old wife who is healthy as all get out completely laid up, unable to move, unable to breathe unless the machine's breathing for her, and it's simply because she got the flu," said Leeann's husband Don.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville father is urging everyone to get a flu shot, as his previously healthy wife is in the hospital battling H1N1. Leeann Samples, 46, was rushed to the emergency room on January 2 and immediately admitted to the ICU, where she's been in a medically-induced coma on a ventilator for the last three weeks.

"It is scary to walk into a room and see your 46-year-old wife who is healthy as all get out completely laid up, unable to move, unable to breathe unless the machine's breathing for her, and it's simply because she got the flu," said Leeann's husband Don.

And his family isn't alone. UT Medical Center has 18 in-patients with the flu right now. Physicians Regional Medical Center has 10, Turkey Creek Medical Center has three, and North Knoxville Medical Center has two. The hospitals say those numbers are actually pretty normal for this time of year.

Covenant Health would not release numbers for Fort Sanders and Parkwest, but Leeann is at Parkwest and Don says several families there are in their same situation.

Don wishes Leeann had gotten a flu shot this year. 

"I tell you, if you haven't got the shot, run and go get it now. It could possibly save your life," he said.

Friends have set up a website where you can follow Leeann's recovery.

If you are interested in getting a flu shot, experts say it's not too late. The peak of the local flu season isn't until February.

The Knox County Health Department is still offering free flu shots at all three of their locations, while supplies last.

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