Tandy Harmon https://t.co/hg7nAzWRaI— Roni Jaure (@jauremom) January 28, 2018
Tandy Harmon was a healthy and supportive maid of honor on a Saturday, only to fall ill the following Monday. Later that week, she was dead.
Harmon, 36, felt so sick after having spent a weekend feeling fine that she rushed to the ER on Monday. Once there, the doctor diagnosed her with the flu, telling her to go home. The very next day, the mother of two ended up being taken to the hospital once again where she was put on a ventilator. Harmon died on Friday.
Prior to Harmon’s passing, she had moved in with her grandmother so she could help her to take care of her grandfather, who suffers from dementia. Now, her grandmother is taking care of her husband and her granddaughter’s kids, Madison and Jimmy, ages 11 and 12.
“Who's to blame? Do you blame God? Do you blame the world," her boyfriend, Steven Lundin, asked. "Do you blame the doctors?”
After her tragic passing, her friends set up a GoFundMe page so her children can cover the costs that they are facing immediately after losing their mom. Still, Lundin and Harmon’s family and friends remain uncertain of what they should do next as it’s unclear whether the doctors are to blame for her death.
“Everything just collapsed within days. It was pretty hard to watch,” Lundin said.
Unfortunately, the Oregon mom is not the first to die of the flu this year.
According to CNN, experts in infectious disease believe that sometimes, doctors may miss certain signs and will believe that the patient is simply suffering from an ordinary flu.
"We're all human beings, and we're all subject to making decisions occasionally that we wish we had done in another way," said Dr. William Schaffner, who is an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Due to the flu’s “sneaky” nature, he added, sometimes it’s impossible to identify the few who would be at risk of dying for having contracted the disease.
"We wish we could predict the people who are going to take a turn for the worse," he said. "It's a gap in our knowledge."
As specialists at Vanderbilt continue to study what makes people who die of the flu special and what can be done to help, Dr. Buddy Creech, one of the doctors working on a solution, says that a coordinated effort to collect samples from the blood of flu victims could help others.
So far, scientists have found that something called a cytokine storm often plays a role in the deaths of young and healthy people who have the flu. The storm consists of an overproduction of immune cells in the lungs, leading to inflammation. In no time, fluid builds up, and the flu turns into pneumonia.
While tests on mice have seemed to help infected animals recover when researchers used an experimental drug, they are not sure if the substance would help humans. Still, the fact that researchers are doing all in their power to find a solution and that they have been able to identify a potential culprit could be the breakthrough necessary to prevent another death.