Local mother of two battles severe case of the flu

Published: Jan. 4, 2020 at 8:52 PM EST
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No influenza deaths have been reported in northwest Ohio yet this season, but one young Toledo area mom is battling a severe case.

Danielle Pearson's family says the 20-year-old may have brain damage, lose her leg and need a double lung transplant due to complications from the flu.

It's been a hard holiday season for the Pearson family. They say their daughter has been sedated and in various hospitals since Christmas time. They never expected a flu diagnosis to turn into such a severe case and hope by sharing their story, others will take prevention methods seriously.

Danielle Pearson is a wife and mother of two young girls. Leyah is 2 and Claire is 5-months-old. Both daughters got the flu right before Christmas and it didn't take long before Danielle started feeling sick, too.

"One of the doctors told me that she's the poster child for why you get the flu shot because she didn't get her flu shot," said Robin Pearson, Danielle's mother.

Robin says her daughter's asthma started acting up Christmas Eve. She was having a hard time breathing and speaking. Christmas morning she went to the emergency room.

"We've had the flu run through our house before many other different times and it's kind of one of those things where 'Ah, it's just the flu.' You don't realize how severe it can be," said Robin.

Robin says her daughter was admitted to the ICU and diagnosed with pneumonia and influenza. She says Danielle's right lung collapsed and she was put on a life support system to help oxygenate her blood.

Robin says the tubes hooked up to that machine were put into Danielle's left leg, which caused different issues.

"Her left leg that those tubes had been placed in had cut off the circulation to her leg ... they didn't have any pulses to her leg at all," said Robin.

She told 13abc eventually the young mother was life flighted to the Cleveland Clinic for more intensive care.

"They said there's a high probability they're going to have to amputate her leg," said Robin.

The scar tissue in her daughter's lungs is another main concern. Robin says MRSA was detected in Danielle's lungs and bloodstream.

"The doctor said it is a very, very, very high probability that she'll need a double lung transplant because of this," said Robin.

Robin says Danielle's daughters are recovering just fine from their battle with the flu. But their mother has been sedated since the day after Christmas. Doctors have told Robin brain damage is a possibility.

"She's opening her eyes and giving things to me that I feel is promising," said Robin.

For now, the Pearson family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House near the Cleveland Clinic and are told it could be four to six months until Danielle recovers.

"Her age is a factor, that it's a good thing, because young people tend to bounce back from, you know, injuries like this. But then again they'll just keep saying we just don't know. ... I just look for the good and pray for the best," said Robin.

Danielle's husband and mother are taking off work to be by her side while she heals. Of course, Danielle isn't working while she's receiving care at the Cleveland Clinic. A

is set up to help with her medical expenses. Robin also posts daily updates on Danielle's condition on that page and on Facebook.