Family advises shot after father falls terminally ill from H1N1 - WKRN News 2

Family advises flu shot after father falls terminally ill from H1N1

Posted: Updated: Jan 20, 2014 05:26 PM
GREENBRIER, Tenn. -

A Greenbrier family is warning everyone who has not gotten a flu shot to get one as they prepare for the death of their father.

Patrick Sass is in ICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with H1N1 flu and doctors told his family that he is not going to survive.

Sass, 46, did not get the flu shot and fell ill on Christmas. By New Year's Day he was so ill that when he went to the ER in Robertson County he was rushed to Vanderbilt.

Sass's sons told News 2 they are warning others to get the flu shot so other families will not face what they are going through right now.

"It is breathtaking that the flu could take someone who has been through hell and back," Sass's son Casey said. "Going to Walgreens to get a simple flu shot could have saved his life."

Sass's family describes him as energetic and outgoing. He worked as a sign installer with High Angle Signs, working high above the ground.

Sass was part of the crew that used a helicopter to install the sign on the Pinnacle building downtown.

Prior to coming down with the flu, his sons said he survived a number of near fatal incidents including being shot when he was younger by accident.

"You just don't believe your dad is going to have this happen to him," Chris Sass said. "You hear all this crazy stuff that he has been through and you just don't expect it."

The H1N1 flu has been devastating for otherwise healthy young adults.

More than a dozen people in Middle Tennessee have died and flu experts said more deaths are projected during this "serious" flu season.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is tracking hospitalizations and deaths linked to lab confirmed flu. As of Monday, 466 people have been hospitalized and 16 people have died of the flu.

According to Vanderbilt, the majority of those patients did not get the flu shot.

"It sucks it takes something like this to happen to be a catalyst," Chris Sass said. "But it changes the way you think."

Sass's family said doctors plan to move him out of ICU into palliative care on Monday.

His parents and siblings have arrived from around the country to be at his hospital bedside

The Sass family has set up a Web site to raise money for Patrick Sass' final expenses.

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