25-year-old South Bend woman dies from the flu

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A South Bend family is heartbroken after a 25-year-old woman died from the flu.

Family members say Anne Dwan was treated at a local hospital before being transported to Chicago, where she died Dec. 24.

"We were expecting her to get better," said Dwan's stepfather, William Junge. "We figured it would take a couple months. We was going to postpone Christmas until she came home."

Dwan initially went to a local hospital after feeling sick. Doctors diagnosed her with Influenza A and sent her home with Tamiflu. But, her symptoms got worse.

"My wife knew something was wrong because she laid her head down on her lap," Junge said. "And, for Anne being strong-willed like she is, she would never do that."

So, she went back to the hospital, where doctors discovered Dwan also had double pneumonia. Her breathing was only at 60 percent, so doctors put her in a medically-induced coma.

Dwan was eventually transported to a University of Chicago hospital for treatment.

"She was making very small increments in improvements," Junge said. "They still said she is very, very sick. But, we still thought that she could pull through."

But, the family got a phone call on Christmas Eve saying Dwan had gone into respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

Junge says Dwan never got a flu shot.

"Of course, being 25, you think you're bullet proof, invincible, you're going to live forever," he said.

Dwan was just married in September and has two children. Now her family is struggling to cope with the unexpected loss. And, they're also struggling to pay for her funeral.

"For this to happen when it did, it couldn't have happened at a worse time," Junge said. "My wife has breast cancer and is still fighting that. And, I just within the last month became out of work because of chronic tendinitis."

The family hasn't been able to bury Dwan yet because of the high cost. Bubb Funeral Chapel in Mishawaka is handling the arrangements and accepting donations. The family says Dwan can't be buried at Riverview Cemetery in South Bend until the expenses are paid in full.

"It''s terrible," Junge said. "And, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

The family is hopeful others will learn from Dwan's tragic story and get a flu shot.

Dr. Thomas Felger with the St. Joseph County Health Department says it is not too late to get the vaccine, which has protection for H1N1. He urges anyone over six months of age to get the shot which the health department is still offering.
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Symptoms of the flu are fever, body aches, headache and coughing. Anyone with such symptoms should see a doctor.


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