Woman loses father to flu-related death, encourages others to get flu shot

NOW: Woman loses father to flu-related death, encourages others to get flu shot

DODGE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Dodge County woman is sharing her story of loss, and learning. Autumn Berg's father, Patrick, died last week after battling lung cancer and the flu.

“The flu is something that comes and goes every year, and I have seen throughout my short life on earth just how grave it can be,” Berg said.

She says it was his second cancer diagnosis, and believes he may have had a better chance at surviving had he gotten a flu shot.

Berg is now finalizing her father's personal business and planning his memorial service.

He was 61 years old, and battling lung cancer, when Berg said he was diagnosed with pneumonia, and then the H1N1 flu virus in December.

“If my dad wouldn’t have gotten the flu would my dad have been able to come back from this, would I still have a dad?”

H1N1, also known as the ‘swine flu’ damages the lungs, allowing fluid to leak into working air sacs making it harder to breathe.

“They took the tube out of my dad’s throat and they kept him heavily sedated," she said. "But about an hour after that was removed from him, yes, my dad stopped breathing.”

Autumn said her father was mostly against vaccines, but believes the flu shot could have helped support his weakened immune system. Now, she wants others to learn from her new reality.

“I just feel, like, that if he would have gotten his flu shot that maybe things could have been different. There’s medical precautions out there for a reason. If they help so many other people, they could have helped."

Most doctors advise getting the flu shot as a preventative measure.

They say it’s not 100 percent effective, but it can lessen your chances of getting the virus or reduce the strength of the flu on your immune system.

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