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Utah teenager taken off of life support after spending month in a coma following first flu vaccination

Posted: November 25, 2013 |   Comments

( 19-year-old Chandler Webb of Utah passed away on November 19, 2013, after being hospitalized for nearly a month while in a coma. His mother, Lori Webb, claims that her son's death was caused by the influenza vaccine.

On October 15, Chandler received his first flu shot ever as part of a routine physical prior to going on a mission trip for his church. The next day, Chandler began suffering from headaches and severe vomiting. The teenager, who had only just recently graduated from Brighton High school, was then hospitalized in Salt Lake City, where he subsequently fell into a coma.

After being in a coma for about a month, Chandler was taken off of life support, and he died on November 19, 2013, after spending 28 days in the hospital. Though doctors have yet to discuss the case, his mother says that the direct cause of death was swelling of the brain. Public health officials continue to emphasize the safety of the vaccine, despite serious side effects having been reported.

Lori has declined an autopsy for her son, considering that a pending brain biopsy will likely be sufficient to determine the cause of death. She said that neurologists at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray performed numerous tests on her son, but they were unable to find any cause or cure for his condition.

"Like with other medical procedures, there can be side effects and adverse reactions," Tom Hudachko, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Health, said. "In the vast majority of those cases the side effects are not very severe - soreness at the injection site, low fever, achiness. Occasionally, yes, there are more severe side effects from receiving the vaccine."

Sankar Swaminathan, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says that, out of approximately 130 million people who get the flu vaccine nationwide per year, about 1,000 people report an adverse reaction, and 140 people report serious side effects. However, those numbers are likely under-representative, as many reactions go unreported.

Prior to receiving the flu shot, Chandler Webb was a healthy, active teenager who visited the gym five days a week. His sudden, unprecedented death has yet to be explained by the medical industry, but his mother is certain that the flu shot is to blame. "We're angry because we believe it's the flu shot that [caused] it," Lori said to the Salt Lake Tribune.

When he was taken off of life support, Chandler's last moments involved his mother cutting his hair for the last time and telling him the story of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," which she would read to him as a child. "I can't describe how hard it is to lose a child," Lori said.

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