Alabama woman breaks down over husband’s harrowing flu battle that left him in medically induced coma

Family thought they could "just ride it out" but man ended up on life support.

ByABC News
January 16, 2018, 10:32 AM

— -- Felicia York said her life turned upside down when her husband was placed in a medically induced coma after falling ill with the flu.

Her nightmare began in Alabama on Christmas night, she told ABC News, when Adam York said he “felt terrible” and was “coming down with what the kids had.”

The couple’s three children had just gotten over the flu and things seemed to be getting back to normal around the house, she said.

“Since we had been through it with the kids, we just figured we’ll make some chicken soup like we did before and we’ll just ride it out,” York added.

But riding it out, she said, turned out to be a critical mistake.

By New Year’s Day, her husband’s symptoms began to worsen and “you could hear the flu in his lungs,” York said of her 38-year-old husband. “He hadn’t slept because he couldn’t get comfortable and he couldn't breathe.”

With over-the-counter medications failing, York said, they went to an emergency room. Instead of being in and out like she’d expected, however, doctors told her he tested positive for the flu and would have to be admitted, she said.

Within 24 hours of getting admitted, his condition took a turn for the worse. He was moved to intensive care and eventually placed in a medically induced coma, York said, which doctors said was a “last resort.”

“It was a 24-hour period; hours went from talking to me on the phone, to being in the bed, on these machines, struggling,” she said. “How fast it went from being just sick and feeling bad to struggling to live.

“We don’t know of a reason why because he didn’t have any prior medical history or sicknesses. I mean, there’s nothing underlying we could think of, so it’s really, really strange,” she added.

Now, as she struggles to take care of her family and pay her husband’s hospital bills while he remains in the coma, York said, she wants other people to avoid making the same mistakes they did.

“We never took it serious. We never had the flu and we never had the flu shot either,” she said. “I’m not necessarily an advocate of the flu shot because I know that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

“But if you are sick and if you are feeling bad, call your doctor or go to your doctor. Don’t go to … [the drugstore for medication] unless you really have to.”

Felicia York said her husband is self-employed: He owns a popcorn-making business and does not have health insurance. She launched a Gofundme campaign Friday to help with the family’s mounting medical expenses.

“They have said that it all depends on Adam, but it could take anywhere from one to three weeks for him to be taken off of the ECMO bypass [life support] and ventilator,” she wrote on the campaign page. “If you feel led, please consider helping us to get our lives back to normal after this terrible flu season.”

The campaign had raised a little less than half of its $10,000 goal as of early this morning.

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