Frederick Parents Urge Flu Awareness After Loss of 5-Year-Old Son

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Lochlin DeSantis was a bright-eyed and healthy kindergartener who loved to play hockey with his brothers in Frederick, Maryland, but on Jan. 20, after a flu diagnosis just a few days prior, the 5-year-old boy passed away from sepsis, a life-threatening disease where an infection travels throughout the body, damaging tissue and leading to organ failure.

His family is now urging parents to maintain awareness of the dangers of the flu and its connection to deadly diseases like sepsis.

The symptoms began on a Friday when Lochlin complained of a headache and leg cramps. Tylenol temporarily relieved his pain, and he played hockey the next day.

Dr. Dominique Foulkes, medical director of pediatrics at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda shares warning signs for parents during flu season.

“He was playing hockey with his brother. There was no fever, nothing,” said his mother, Brooke DeSantis, who is a nursing student. “It was Sunday that things really took a turn.”

They took Lochlin to an urgent care center, suspecting he was dehydrated.

He tested positive for influenza type A, a type of flu causing the most epidemics and pandemics.

He was given Tamiflu, but his condition did not improve, so the next day they took him to the emergency room.

Then Lochlin’s father, William DeSantis, received a devastating phone call about his son’s worsening condition. He met his wife at the hospital, and Lochlin died that afternoon.

“Our house seems so quiet now because he was always the one that was running around, playing and being rambunctious, and just this smile,” William DeSantis said. “He had a very contagious smile, very contagious laugh.”

A fundraiser has been set up in Lochlin’s honor, with all donations going toward raising awareness of the risks of the flu and supporting families who lose their children. If you are interested in donating to the “Love for Lochlin” fund, go here.

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