Martin McGowan was a typical, healthy 15-year-old boy. He loved baseball, making people laugh and dreamed of being on the Nazareth baseball team. When he got sick the day of his baseball tryouts in 2005, his mom, Diane, asked if he was sure he should go. Martin replied he had to go since it was try-outs, and he would be fine.
However, that night Diane says things took a turn for the worse. “We didn’t know it, but he had the flu,” she says. That night he threw up twice, had a fever, his lips were turning white from dehydration, and he complained of severe leg pain. “By the time we got to the hospital, his internal organs had already begun to break down, and sepsis was beginning,” McGowan says.
Just 16 hours after he first became ill, Martin was taken into surgery, but he did not survive. “Martin’s heart stopped around 6 p.m. and they could not revive him,” McGowan recalls. “My son tested positive for the flu and, as I learned later, the rest of his complications were caused by influenza. Martin was not vaccinated against the flu.”