AKRON, Ohio – A 12-year-old girl remains in the hospital more than one month after arriving following complications from the flu.
“There is nothing as a parent that can prepare you to sign a consent form to put your child on life support, ” said TJ Rine. “Especially when the whole thing just started with the flu.”
Parents of Riane Rine said her condition rapidly deteriorated. She was later diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and had several surgeries since being admitted. They are not sure if she will be well enough to be discharged by her 13th birthday in April.
“There’s days where she just wakes up and grabs your hand and it’s the best feeling in the world but then there’s also days where she is really struggling just to breathe and it breaks you apart,” said Tonya Rine.
Riane’s doctor at Akron Children’s Hospital said they have seen a decline in influenza cases compared to last year. However, the cases the hospital has seen so far this year appear to be more severe.
“In our ICU this year we’ve had three children that have had influenza and then gotten bacterial infections and had severe severe respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Chris Page-Goertz.
Dr. Page-Goertz said people who get the flu even after getting a flu shot are less likely to get as sick as those who never got vaccinated.
It’s a message Riane’s father said he will not forget.
“What I’ve watched and have seen my daughter go through, moving forward my kids will always get flu shots,” said Rine.
Riane’s mother said, “I just don’t want parents to have to go through what we’re going through.”
The family has a series of fundraisers planned in the coming weeks thanks in part to an outpouring of support from the community.
According to Rine, a pasta dinner will be held on March 24 between 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Founders Hall at Kent State Tuscarawas campus.
A second dinner is planned for April 27 between 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Coshocton Moose Lodge. The following day a pool tournament held at the same location will begin at 11 a.m.