Flu morphs into pneumonia, puts man in coma

Published on Friday, 10 January 2014 18:20 - Written by By Kenneth Dean kdean@tylerpaper.com

Soledad Steele hopes the treatment her longtime boyfriend is receiving will save his life after flu struck the 38-year-old and morphed into pneumonia. 

Will Goodson, an electric lineman for Standard Utility, remained Friday in critical condition at East Texas Medical Center.

His family said there have been minor improvements, but they know Goodson has a long road of recovery ahead of him.

"He came down with the flu, but he was stubborn and said it was just a cold,” Ms. Steele said in a phone interview Friday. “I told him that he needed to go in to the doctor, but he kept saying he would be fine."

Ms. Steele said she took Goodson to ETMC last week and was told he had Type A flu, but because he waited more than 48 hours, Tamiflu would not help his condition.

"We went back two more times, and the last time, they put him straight into ICU because he had pneumonia, and they couldn't see his lungs on the X-rays,” she said.

Goodson was one of nine patients in isolation Friday at ETMC, hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. 

On Thursday, both ETMC and Mother Frances Hospital experienced a high volume of patients with the flu or other respiratory illnesses. 

Mrs. Berkley said while the flu season has seen an average number of cases in the area, more cases seem to be more severe this year.

"A lot more of the patients are being admitted because they are so sick," she said.

Goodson's mother, Brenda, said doctors have noted some improvement in her son's condition, but he remained on a ventilator as of Friday afternoon.

Both Mrs. Goodson and Ms. Steele said they hope sharing the story would prompt people to seek medical help if they are having flu-like symptoms. 

"If he would have gone in the first day, then he might not be in this condition. It is extremely important to get checked out," Ms. Steele said. "It's better to be safe than sorry."

Ms. Steele's workplace, XTC Fitness and Sports on South Broadway Avenue, is accepting donations to help with the financial costs associated with Goodson's medical treatment and loss of work. 

"Everyone needs to know how fast this can happen,” she said. “Will went from zero to bad in no time at all. When he was admitted Friday, he was on a breathing mask and now he's in a coma on a ventilator. It's been tough and still hard to believe this is happening.

"Get a flu shot or get the doctor as soon as you start having symptoms.