Grieving dad’s warning after wife’s shock flu death
A DISTRAUGHT Toowoomba father has revealed the heartbreaking final moments of his fit and healthy 35-year-old wife's life before she lost her battle with the common flu.
Dan Foulds broke down as he revealed to The Courier-Mail that he had promised his son his mum would be fine.
"I told my 10-year-old son that his mum would be OK, it was only the flu - and now she is dead," he said.
As this year heads towards being the worst on record with 83 recorded deaths and 37,214 reported cases, the latest victim is Jacinta Foulds, a Toowoomba mum-of-three, who died in the early hours of Wednesday after contracting influenza A.
She took her last breath at 3.15am, a moment held in time for this young family.
Dan and the three kids, aged 7, 10 and 11, are surrounded by friends and family who feel that "life has done a number on them".
"I am gutted. I cannot explain the shock. I have lost my best friend and soulmate and what are my children going to do without their mother?" Dan said.
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Last Wednesday, Jacinta, a nail salon owner, went to her doctor as she was feeling unwell. She was told she had influenza A and should go home and rest and take lots of fluids.
"We thought it would pass and she just needed to look after herself but it didn't pass. On Tuesday she called me at work saying she definitely was not OK and I raced home right away. I took one look at her and rang the ambulance. The journey to the hospital was a Code One - critical with lights and sirens. Her heart crashed and I was told she could die. Seriously, how could a 35-year-old fit woman die from the flu?" he said.
Jacinta's condition worsened into pneumonia and she picked up what would normally be a common bacterial infection.
"Her body started to shut down - kidneys and heart. Jacinta was put into an induced coma but just before we had the chance to talk. She said to me 'I'm sorry, I love you' and I replied 'Don't be sorry, I love you'. These were our last words as she never woke up," Dan said.
An oxygenation machine was brought from Brisbane to Toowoomba in an effort to help Jacinta fight off the infection.
Dan, a self-employed chippie, said he didn't take his children to the hospital as their mother's state was too distressing.
"I wanted them to remember her as the loving, vibrant mother she was. When she was leaving home to go to the Toowoomba Base Hospital my 10-year-old said 'Mum looks like a zombie'. It was frightening for him," Dan said.
Dan says he puts no blame on any one and simply wants to warn people to keep an eye on their flu symptoms and to go back to the doctor if things deteriorated.
"Jacinta deteriorated so fast. It does not even seem real. If you have the flu don't just keep battling through until it is too late, get help," he said.
The worst flu season in Queensland was 2017, with 56,592 cases for the whole year.
This year the state's flu death toll is already almost double the 43 recorded for all of 2018.
"I don't want anybody going through what we have gone through. My children and I will get the flu shot every year from now on and I will tell anyone that listens to beware of the flu as it kills," he said.
Jacinta was not vaccinated against the flu. Her death will not be included in the official flu toll until further examinations take place.
Darling Downs Health Executive Director of Medical Service Dr Martin Byrne said he could not talk about the cause of Jacinta's death for privacy reasons, but reiterated that influenza could be "a potentially serious condition" that could lead to fatal complications.
The Toowoomba community is gutted by the sudden loss of a loving mum who lived for her family.
The family of five was tight-knit and Jacinta loved spending time with her children.
"By now most of you will be aware that this world lost an amazing person this morning," one Facebook message said yesterday.
Another said: " Jacinta had a hard shell but the softest centre. A great mum, wife, friend and all round good person. She was quirky, kind, smart and funny. Taken too young and too suddenly."
"I'm so absolutely devastated this morning, life is just not fair. You will forever be my best "XXXX" girl. RIP beautiful," said another early morning post.
"Life has pulled a number on us, friends. Woke to the most horrible news. Pals, Jacinta Foulds has been taken from us.," a friend posted
But the most heartbreaking social media post came from Dan himself.
"This is the hardest post I have ever had to do. My world has been rocked tonight I said goodbye to my best friend and soulmate taken from me way to soon. It's a very tough moment so rather than fielding phone calls and message I'm putting it up so all my friends and family can see Jacinta Foulds my beautiful wife lost her fight as she was extremely sick with influenza A. As a result she caught a secondary infection as well as pneumonia and it was too much for her body to handle. She fought hard all the way to the end as expected from the Jacinta we all know. Sorry if I don't reply to message I'm really struggling and am trying to hold it together for my three kids. Jacinta Foulds taken to soon and forever in my heart and soul RIP my true love".
A fundraiser has been launched to support Dan and the children.