Langley teen in fight for her life

The 14-year-old went to hospital with the flu and is now at Children’s with heart failure

Twenty days ago Langley teen Kenzie Marshall was a happy and healthy teen. Now she is in ICU at Children’s Hospital in total heart failure. Doctors believe a virus attacked her heart. Her mom Andrea is praying a heart pump can save her. Otherwise she will need a heart transplant. Submitted photo

A Grade 8 Brookswood Secondary student is in the ICU at B.C. Children’s Hospital fighting for her life after a common virus attacked her heart.

Andrea Marshall said the nightmare began around three weeks ago when she took her daughter Kenzie to Surrey Memorial Hospital emergency room after her daughter’s symptoms grew beyond what seemed like a typical flu bug.

The emergency doctor diagnosed it as a common virus. However Kenzie’s condition deteriorated quickly and she was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

When she arrived, she was in total heart failure, fighting to stay alive.

“We were told that tests show this is from a virus that has destroyed her heart muscle. First we were told (she would need) a pacemaker and defibrillator but those won’t work now, so we are praying the artificial heart pump will work,” said Andrea from her daughter’s bedside.

“I have hope this (the heart pump) will work. She’s a tough girl.

“We are hoping and praying that a mechanical heart pump will be put in soon. With this procedure comes a back-up plan — she will be put on the heart transplant list. Kenzie is an amazingly talented, smart, strong, beautiful young lady,” said Andrea.

Kenzie turned 14 in ICU a few days ago. Before this, she was a healthy, happy girl, said her mom.

This may not be an isolated case. Andrea said there is a four-year-old girl in ICU in similar circumstances.

Andrea has been by Kenzie’s side since her ordeal began. She is amazed that families in crisis still have to pay the $14.50 a day parking fee at Children’s.

A GoFundMe page has been started to help ease some of the family’s financial burden. Already, some of Andrea’s co-workers and friends have donated.

This year’s flu is particularly brutal and has even been fatal for a few children. In Canada, there have been around five flu-related deaths in children so far this flu season. But hundreds more have been hospitalized, with many placed in ICU, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported on its FluWatch website.

The number one complication that can arise from the influenza virus in children is pneumonia and if that infection gets into the bloodstream, it can cause what’s known as sepsis, which leads to the body’s organs shutting down.

BC Children’s Hospital told the Times that they are only seeing a slightly higher than average flu volumes this year.

“The flu burden has remained constant — there is nothing different this year from before,” said Children’s Hospital spokesperson Cara Christopherson.

B.C. Children’s has a page on its website explaining when to bring a child into emergency for the flu. If a child’s fever continues to be high and hasn’t improved from Tylenol or Advil, and they appear very sleepy, bring them to the ER.

Babies under three months with a fever greater than 38C should be taken to emergency. For full information click here.

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