By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – A father of two is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot.

That’s because, five years ago, influenza almost killed him.

“You don’t really want to go through what I went through,” Victor Carlos told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 234 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

Victor Carlos (credit: CBS)

Carlos almost died. In 2012, he was 41-years-old. He had run three marathons, and was training for another. He did not get a flu shot.

“I was just afraid of needles and injections,” Carlos explained.

That December, the husband and father of two ended up on life support, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), at the University of Colorado Hospital.

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 888 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

(credit: Carlos Family)

The ECMO machine is similar to the heart-lung by-pass machine used in open-heart surgery.

“Like an artificial lung that oxygenates the blood for you because my lungs couldn’t do it,” he said.

Carlos had gotten the flu. That led to pneumonia and then acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 527 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

(credit: Carlos Family)

“That’s when things got really desperate,” he said.

Carlos was given a 50 percent chance of survival.

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 2398 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

(credit: Carlos Family)

“By the time I woke up it was like 30 days later. It was a new year,” he explained.

“The only reason he’s alive today is because he is young and healthy,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, infectious disease specialist and Medical Director of Infection Control for the University of Colorado Hospital. “Anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. die from the flu every year.”

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 1510 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

Dr. Michell Barron (credit: CBS)

On Friday, Carlos got a flu shot, something he has done every year since influenza almost killed him.

“As soon as I see that sign that says flu shots are available we just pop in there and get the shots,” Carlos said.

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 1813 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

(credit: CBS)

And he has decided to speak out in favor of the flu vaccine.

“If we can convince just that one person to get their flu shot and possibly save their life that would be worth it for me,” he said.

Carlos has run three marathons since his hospitalization five years ago. He knows he is lucky to be running again.

flu season 5pkg transfer frame 351 Father Who Almost Died From Flu: Dont Go Through What I Went Through

(credit: Carlos Family)

“I’m grateful for the people who helped me out through that whole ordeal and try to pay that forward,” he said.

He appreciates every day.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

NEWS TEAM
Future Leaders
Together 4 Colorado

Watch & Listen LIVE