Swine flu lands student in ICU

Dealing with the sudden illness of her son Andrew has been extremely difficult, but LeAnne Sandoz says the outpouring of support from Andrew’s friends in the community has been a blessing.

The 19-year-old college freshman was looking forward to beginning his first week at Southeastern University in Hammond when he came down with the flu. He never made it to his first class.

“Andrew’s twin brother Josh had the flu the week before but had gotten over it,” Sandoz said. “Andrew began getting sick on Sunday and didn’t feel well enough to go to school Monday or Tuesday.”

On Wednesday, Sandoz says Andrew called wanting to come home and that’s when she took him to his doctor.

The doctor tested him and said he didn’t have the flu. But Andrew continued to run a 102 to 103-degree fever and by Friday night, his mom “knew something wasn’t right” and took her ailing son to  St. Charles Parish Hospital. There Andrew was diagnosed with pneumonia and moved to Ochsner. Despite treatment, the condition of his lungs deteriorated so rapidly that he began suffocating from lack of oxygen. He was induced into a coma and put on a respirator to keep him alive.

Doctors at Ochsner told Sandoz that Andrew did have the swine flu which eventually led to Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome. It is now believed that the swine flu virus actually attacks the tissue of the lungs directly contributing to acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS).

The only way to treat ARDS is to supply oxygen to the body via a respirator while giving the lungs time to heal. Andrew will likely remain in the induced coma for weeks.

As the nightmare of seeing her son fall into this helpless state unfolded, friends in the community began calling and offering their help and prayers.

“I didn’t realize Andrew knew so many people,” said Sandoz, who considers herself a private person. But apparently, the 6 foot, 240 pound “softy” had made many friends during his years in the Hahnville High School band and while working long hours at Winn-Dixie.

This outpouring of love has really meant a lot to his mother, “I just don’t know how to thank them enough.”
Doctors at Ochsner told Sandoz that they are seeing an increase in ARDS associated with the swine flu, especially in 18 to 30 year old young adults they are now treating all flu as if it’s the swine strain because of so many false negatives.


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