WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Laura Sidari, a mom and a physician in the military, urges others to get vaccinated before the flu season goes into overdrive.
- Sidari’s 4-year-old son Leon died on Christmas morning last year, just two days after showing symptoms.
- Over 180 children have died during the 2017 to 2018 flu season.
Laura Sidari’s 4-year-old son Leon had died last year due to bacterial pneumonia and the flu. Laura and her husband, both military physicians, were left heartbroken because Leon passed away on Christmas day, within two days of showing flu symptoms.
Leon was scheduled to get vaccinated on a routine checkup days later, according to Sidari.
“In the hospital, there came a moment when my brain knew that my son was dying, but my heart simply did not,” Laura told PEOPLE.
“In medical training, I can remember similar moments in the critical care setting, where death approached like a train hurtling towards its final destination. However, as a mother, nothing can prepare you for watching your child die.”
Laura urges families to get flu shots right away. After receiving their vaccines this year, she shared a photo of her family (her husband and their sons Tristan, 2, and Cameron, 11 months) on social media.
“Leon is my reason this season, and every season, for getting flu shots on time,” Sidari posted.
“Last year, if I had seen a story like my own, I would have prioritized the flu shot differently. As a physician, even I was unaware of the significant risk that the flu posed to my healthy child,” she says. “Through reaching out to others, including other physician parents, I have discovered that I am not alone in that misconception.”