In mid-February, 2011, flu-like symptoms caused Suzanne Vela to leave work early to try to recover quickly from fatigue and a persistent cough. Several days of rest at home did not seem to improve her symptoms and Javier Vela, Suzanne's husband, decided to take her to the Mayo Clinic Hospital Emergency department on February 14th.
Their decision to seek urgent care could not have been any more wise and timely since shortly after being admitted to the hospital, Suzanne went into respiratory arrest and was placed on life support for two weeks. After undergoing several tests and procedures, the team of Mayo Clinic physicians caring for Suzanne, including Dr. Kenneth Mishark and Dr. Andrea Loiselle, diagnosed her condition as acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS.
Suzanne shares that prior to her life threatening experience, she had always been very healthy and had not thought twice about the importance of getting an annual flu shot. Mayo physicians concluded that the extreme severity of her illness could have been prevented had she received a flu shot.
Today, Suzanne hopes to become the "poster child for flu shot awareness." As part of her mission, she gets the word out on her Facebook wall and insists that any house guests visiting her family must have had the flu shot. Javier further reiterates, "in exchange for her clean bill of health, Dr. Loiselle asked that we get the word out about the importance of getting your flu shot, something we had avoided for many years."