CLINTON — At only 5 months of age, Violet Villalobos died from flu-related complications in January. She was two weeks away from being old enough to receive the H1N1 vaccine.
Violet was described by her parents as a happy baby with the chubbiest legs you have ever seen.
“(Her) legs were so chubby, it was hard to put a diaper on,” said Richard Villalobos, her father.
She had always been healthy until contracting the flu.
“That’s the weird thing. It didn’t present itself like the typical influenza,” said Michelle Villalobos, her mother.
Michelle Villalobos said Violet developed a tiny cough. The cough continued for the next two days. She never had a fever. But by the third day, Michelle took Violet to the emergency room at Davis Hospital and Medical Center.
“She just started breathing not like a baby or anybody I have ever seen breathe,” Michelle Villalobos said.
Doctors diagnosed Violet with H1N1. Violet’s heart rate quickly became unstable.
“Her heart rate would go up and then down,” said Richard Villalobos. “They gave her a breathing treatment and then she got better,” said Michelle Villalobos.
After about an hour, Violet’s heart rate increased and she was given another treatment, Villalobos said.
“Her heart rate was 250, 222, some crazy number and then it dropped to 135,” Michelle Villalobos said.
“She was fine and then she wasn’t fine,” Richard Villalobos said.
The couple said doctors began compressions, and Violet’s legs started shaking.
Michelle Villalobos said she ran.
“I stood in the corner. I just had to be there. I couldn’t run away,” Richard Villalobos said.
Doctors decided to fly Violet to Primary Children’s Hospital.
“I passed the hallway praying to God he wouldn’t take her,” Richard Villalobos said.
Violet never made it.
“From the 20 minutes when they called the life flight team to the time they got there she crashed,” Michelle Villalobos said.
Violet took her last breath on Jan. 31.
Michelle and Richard Villalobos have been healing with the help of their 2-year-old Olivia and family and friends. But they still question where Violet contracted the flu.
“Ya know, you’re a father and all you want is for your child to get better,” Richard Villalobos said.
The parents had an autopsy performed. Results show the virus had spread to her lungs.
“Her lungs hemorrhaged, which is a very rare thing that happens with H1N1,” Michelle Villalobos said.
The couple hopes by sharing their story that they can convince anyone who has ever thought the H1N1 vaccine couldn't protect them that it could save a life.