Miami teen that’s been in the hospital for a month with the flu sees improvement

18-year-old Josiah Swenson has been in intensive care since the beginning of Febraury

Miami, Okla. – For the last month, 18-year-old Miami, Oklahoma resident Josiah Swenson has been at the KU Medical center in the intensive care unit.

“Honestly it feels like a never-ending nightmare,” says Josiah’s mom Charity Freeman.

At the beginning of February, his 20-year-old sister Kayauna died from complications after getting Influenza B.

At the same time, Josiah was life lighted to Kansas City from Freeman in Joplin for the same thing.

“With Kayauna’s death and with Josiah getting so sick, it has been extremely extremely stressful,” says Freeman.

According to the CDC, the number of flu cases this year has reached 34-million in the U.S., with 350-thousand people being hospitalized and 20-thousand dying.

Doctor Uwe Schmidt at Freeman hospital says once someone gets the flu, it can open them up to a secondary infection, like meningitis or staph.

“And then the prognosis is very poor. So many people die. We had actually in this hospital I think three mortalities during this season so far. With two of them being young,” says Schmidt.

Freeman says that Josiah has, thankfully, been making strides toward recovery.

He’s off of life support, just had surgery to remove dead tissue and fluid from his lungs, and has started some physical and occupational therapy.

“He wants to get out of here. So, I just have to keep telling him you’re in the hospital. You’ve been very sick. You’ve been here for over a month and you can’t leave yet,” says Freeman.

And to show support to Josiah and his family, Brickhaus Tattoo Studio is putting on a fundraiser on Friday the 13th (March 13th) to help them with medical bills.

“I actually went to school with Kayauna and Josiah, so I’ve known them for a while. And we like helping those in need, especially ones that we directly relate to,” says Sarah Davis, the tattoo artist that wanted to put the fundraiser together.

Support that Freeman says is more helpful than anyone will know.

“That’s another thing that you don’t want to worry about is medical bills,” says Freeman. “So having people donating money and being willing to go to all this effort has been just amazing. And I know that Kayauna and Sarah were really good friends, so I know she would have appreciated that.”

Freeman doesn’t know for sure how much longer Josiah will be in the hospital.

Kayauna’s husband Preston was also hospitalized but was able to go home on IV fluids six days later.

Freeman is still encouraging people to get the flu vaccine.