After Bangor Woman Dies From Flu, Family Brings Awareness To Others

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Medical officials in Maine and across the nation have been warning people to take every precaution with the flu this season.

A local family is in shock after losing a member this week from complications from the flu.

They're speaking out with hopes of helping prevent it from happening to others.

"She was my first best friend and biggest fan so I'm going to miss her a lot," says Michael Southard.

Michael Southard says he still can't believe how quickly he lost his cousin, Dee McQuarrie.

"I heard from her on Tuesday and at 9:15 she texted me to see if I was at work and I said 'no, why?' And, she said, 'I think I need to go the hospital. I'm very dehydrated and I can't catch my breath I have the flu,'" he says.

Michael took his cousin to the emergency room at a Bangor hospital.

"I went to critical care, walked in and there were 10, 15 people working on her and I said 'what's going on? what's going on?' Clearly, there was a problem and the doctor said 'she's as sick as any human being can be. She may not make it,'" he says.

Dee's sister, Michelle McQuarrie Cross, says she called the hospital when she found out.

"Her body was shutting down, she was on a respirator, the only thing keeping her alive and about an hour after I got there she had passed," she says.

At last check, there have been 48 flu-related deaths in Maine. They say Dee had her flu shot but doctors say she contracted a different type than her shot protected her from.

They say because she was healthy person she thought she could fight it on her own.

"You don't have to worry about it, you just have to take care of it you just have to be aware of it and if you start feeling really bad go to the emergency room. I would say if you have the flu go anyways quite frankly," says Southard.

Dee's family is hoping to honor the memory of their loved one by preventing this from happening to others.

"This is really unbelievably that we're sitting here and if, you know, a situation like this can be prevented by just getting the news out, then I hope that there's not a another family that has to go through this," says Cross.