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15-year-old with H1N1 Fighting for His Life

- Mother of teen urges everyone to be vaccinated.- Vaccine now available to everyone in Cass County.

Fifteen-year old Keith Worthington remains in critical condition at MeritCare Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) battling H1N1 flu. Keith had no underlying medical conditions that would put him at risk for the disease, but on Oct. 19, his mother, Christina Quintana, took him to MeritCare's Emergency Center with flu-like symptoms (coughing, lethargic, low-grade temperature and trouble breathing). Tests confirmed that he has a severe case of pneumonia; it was later confirmed that he also has H1N1 flu.

Keith's mom and his doctor are sharing Keith's story in hopes that it will prompt people to be vaccinated to prevent getting H1N1 flu. Christina says, "If we can help one family avoid what we've been through, it will be worth talking about it. It's what Keith would want."

From the time he arrived at MeritCare, Keith's medical condition has been unstable. On Nov. 24, his heart stopped beating. Doctors performed CPR and used medication to resuscitate him. The pneumonia (which destroys healthy lung tissue) and H1N1 flu led to Keith also developing a staph infection. He remains on a ventilator to help him breath and his medical prognosis is unknown.

H1N1 flu vaccine is now available to everyone in Cass County. Following are vaccination opportunities, which are open to residents of all counties:

1) Monday, Dec. 14, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 15, 3-7 p.m.; and Friday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Hope Lutheran South, 3636 S. 25th St., Fargo. Vaccine is available for those over the age of 6 months. (A reminder that children under age 9 need two shots, 28 days apart.)

2) MeritCare is offering vaccine to all patients during their clinic visits.