Inside the 6-Day Decline of a Teacher Diagnosed With Flu

Heather Holland was prescribed a generic version of Tamiflu but was turned off by the copay
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2018 1:14 PM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2018 1:30 PM CST
Heather Holland.   (Weatherford Independent School District)

(Newser) – Another flu-related death, this one with a painful what-if: A Texas elementary school teacher who died last Sunday due to complications of the flu had been prescribed flu medication, but her husband tells the Weatherford Democrat she didn't pick it up after learning she'd incur a $116 copay. The Wall Street Journal charts the rapid six-day decline of Heather Holland, a second-grade teacher at Ikard Elementary School who developed a scratchy throat on Monday, Jan. 29, but decided to go to work on Tuesday. After turning feverish that night, she went to the doctor Wednesday and tested positive for influenza B. Husband Frank Holland says she was prescribed a generic form of Tamiflu but opted not to buy it after arriving at the pharmacy and learning of the price.

Frank says they could afford it. "It's principle with her. She's a very frugal person in general." After learning she was trying Nyquil instead, he bought the medicine for her Thursday morning. The outlook began to improve. Her fever was declining, and Frank decided to take a planned business trip to Kansas Friday. He departed, and the 38-year-old's fever jolted higher and diarrhea set in. She was admitted to the ICU at a Fort Worth hospital as her high-school sweetheart raced home to be with her. After doctors learned she had sepsis she was put on dialysis Saturday night. She died Sunday, leaving behind two kids, ages 7 and 10. A GoFundMe campaign started for the family is collecting funds but also notes "what Heather would have said...Say a prayer, protect your family how you can, and donate a book to a library." (Read more flu stories.)

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