Health officials confirm a 6-year-old girl who was sent home from a Mesquite hospital earlier this week died hours later from the flu.
Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, tells FOX 4's Shaun Rabb the medical examiner confirmed the cause of death for Tahlia Johnson on Thursday.
Tahlia was too sick to go to school on Monday and progressively got worse throughout the day. Her family took her to the emergency room at Dallas Regional Medical Center Monday evening.
The family says the girl never saw a doctor and was instead sent home by a nurse practitioner with Tylenol, Zyrtec and instructions to rest.
A hospital spokesman would not comment on the case because of federal privacy restrictions. However, the spokesman did say the staff had been inundated with flu patients.
Dallas police are investigating the case, but such probes are routine whenever a child dies.
Meanwhile, doctors across North Texas and the country are urging patients to get a flu shot. The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a news release on the subject Thursday.
"Texas, like much of the country, saw an early start to the flu season and continues to experience a high level of flu and flu-like illness," said DSHS Commissioner Dr. David Lakey. "The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get a dose of flu vaccine now. There is plenty of vaccine available."
Many patients, however, say they're having a hard time finding the vaccine. Doctors' offices often run out of the shots quickly as soon as they receive a shipment.
Three other Dallas County residents have died of the flu this season -- two adults and a 6-year-old boy from Garland who died in November. A teenager from Flower Mound died of the disease while visiting relatives in Wisconsin over the Christmas break.
Keep up to date on the spread of flu across Texas with this website: http://texasflu.org.
KDFW FOX 4
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