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Missouri man says he nearly died because he didn’t get flu shot

ST. LOUIS – A Missouri lobbyist who nearly lost his life earlier this year after getting the flu is speaking out to caution the public to get the flu shot.

Charlie Hinderliter said he didn’t get a flu shot and almost died back in January because of what the flu turned into.

“I got the flu. It turned into septic shock and multi-organ failure,” he said. “I was on dialysis because my kidneys shut down. I was on a ventilator because my lungs weren't working.”

Hinderliter’s esophagus also swelled and he was put on a feeding tube. Doctor Jad Khoury, an infectious diseases physician at Mercy Hospital, said a flu shot—despite not being 100 percent effective—would have lessened Hinderliter’s symptoms.

“Even if partially effective, you still get the benefit of the flu vaccine because the illness might be milder and also the complication risk,” Dr. Khoury said.

As for Hinderliter, he said he still hasn’t fully recovered. That’s why he is trying to get the word out about flu shots and says he will never miss one again.

“It would have helped lesson symptoms but flu shots are predicting the future and that’s not easy to do,” he said.

Dr. Khoury said what happened to Hinderliter can happen to anyone, although most people get milder forms of the flu which can go away in a few days if treated. However, Khoury insists people need to be proactive in getting shots, especially children.

“Children are susceptible to influenza and can spread it easier in close settings in colder weather,” he said.

Dr. Khoury said Mercy Hospital has already one case of the flu, which is very early. Flu season doesn’t typically begin until late October or early November.

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