Virus leaves Coast mum in coma

Woombye mother Katrina Day with her twin daughters Kate and Sophie.
Woombye mother Katrina Day with her twin daughters Kate and Sophie. Contributed

THE husband of a Woombye woman left fighting for her life after contracting the flu believes their children are giving her the will to live.

Katrina Day has been in an induced coma in intensive care in Brisbane's Prince Charles Hospital for the last month with a machine breathing for her.

Initially her family was warned not to expect her to survive, but her husband Nick said she was a fighter.

"I've been with her for 16 years and she's one of the strongest and most tenacious people that I've come across," he said.

"She's got four beautiful kids to fight for. They are only young and I know she would give up anything rather than miss out on what's to happen their lives.

"I know that's what she's hanging in for."

Mrs Day came down with cold and flu-like symptoms in mid-July but her husband said it was "nothing major" initially.

Her condition worsened over the weekend of July 21-22 and she went to hospital with difficulties breathing.

"They checked her out and sent her home," he said.

"They couldn't find anything wrong."

Mr Day called an ambulance the next morning when she deteriorated.

"She was having a shower and the water was hot as, but she was freezing, white as a sheet, and her lips were blue."

Mrs Day was taken to Nambour General Hospital and then airlifted to Brisbane, a journey she was not expected to survive.

She immediately had surgery and was connected to a extracorporeal membrane oxygenation - ECMO - machine which took over from her struggling heart and lungs.

Mr Day was warned to expect the worst when his wife suffered a massive heart attack in hospital.

Since then, her heart function has increased from 2% to 40-50%.

She had more surgery on Wednesday night to remove congealed blood from her right lung.

Mr Day said he hoped his wife was through the worst, but she was far from out of danger.

He said her recovery and rehabilitation could take up to two years.

He has taken time off his mining industry job to be with her and care for their four children, aged two to 13, with the help of his sister-in-law.

Mr Day warned that the flu could be a killer in any age group and warned people not to be complacent.

"You can be young, fit and vital, and it can kill you in an hour," he said.

"It gets inside and if the body is run down, if you're stressed and tired, it just hits and hits harder, and the body can't fight for itself.

"It can happen in the blink of an eye."

Topics:  brisbane coma flu health hospital illness

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