Flu complications put Tyler man in coma

TYLER (KYTX) - 38-year-old Will Goodson came down with the flu in late December. Now, he's in critical condition, battling for his life. It's a daunting reminder of how severe this year's flu season is.

Goodson has been in the ICU in a medically induced coma for the last 13 days. 

"I was actually told yesterday and today by the ICU wing that he is the most critical patient they have right now in the hospital," says Goodson's girlfriend of nine years, Soledad Steele.

Steele still can't believe it all started with the flu.

"He's never been sick a day in his life, other than a common cold, so he's very very healthy," she says.  That's why he never got the flu shot.

"Two days after Christmas, late at night, he got fever, he got chills," she says.

Five days later, he finally went to a local hospital.

"We were sent home, we were told everybody here has the flu, go home and wait it out," Steel says. They went back again and were told the same thing. 

24 hours after that, they tried for a third time. Steele took him to ETMC.

"They couldn't believe he was even walking because his oxygen was so low at that point. They said he needed to be admitted to the hospital, and within two hours we were at ICU and he's been on a ventilator ever since," she says.

Goodson's oxygen was low because the type A flu virus had attacked his lungs, landing him with ARDS, or adult respiratory distress syndrome.

"That caused his lungs to harden," Steel says.

He was put in a medically induced coma, and then more bad news came.

"He's in kidney failure due to medications to try to help his lungs so he's now on dialysis, continuous dialysis around the clock."

He has about 20 pounds of fluid in his body, making him, as Steele says, unrecognizable. His doctor's next goal is to see that fluid reduced so his lungs will clear out. 

"It's been the worse roller coaster ride I've ever been on in my life," Steele says. 

She hopes anyone who sees Goodson's story will take heed.

"I think a lot of people don't realize you can be healthy, and never have an underlying health condition, and this could be you. You could be laying in a bed just like him," she says.

She asks for prayers as the love of her life, battles for his own.

Goodson faces a lot of risks. If his kidneys don't regain function, he could end up on permanent dialysis. Another fear is that his other organs could start shutting down. Right now it's a wait and see situation, so everyone's just trying to stay positive. 

There is no word yet whether he has H1N1. A swab test has not come back from the lab, but we do know he has Type A flu, which is what the majority of East Texas hospital patients have right now.

Doctors want to remind you, it's not too late to get your flu shot.

XTC Fitness on South Broadway in Tyler has started a donation collection for Goodson. There is also a donation web site that has already collected hundreds of dollars for Goodson's medical and home bills.

If you'd like to donate online, click here.




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