Friends, family and classmates mourn after a Winnipeg teenager died of flu complications.
Blaine Ruppenthal, 17, a 12th grade student at Kelvin High School, was rushed to St. Boniface Hospital on January 7 after suffering a cardiac arrest twice. He was put into an induced coma and received hypothermic therapy, but died Monday, according to the Winnipeg School Division.
Radean Carter, of the Winnipeg School Division, told 680 CJOB that the teenager died from complications of Influenza A.
“It’s so tragic. It’s hard to believe that a student gets sick with something he would normally expect to come back in a week, and he won’t be back, “Carter said.
“The biggest shock, of course, is that he is someone in his teens.
“You don’t really expect that to happen with someone healthy in their teens.
“Usually, the elderly are affected by death with the flu.”
A Facebook group, Prayers for Blaine Ruppenthal, created to support the teenager while he was still in treatment, received a great deal of support in light of his death.
“He was one of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. It was really a pleasure to have met him throughout the high school years, ”published a Facebook user who said he was a former classmate of him.
“It was really a pleasure to have met him during the high school years.”
Family members, former teachers, the commander of the Ruppenthal air cadet and local politicians were among those who offered their condolences to his family.
In a letter sent to the parents of Kelvin students, the high school principal, Maria Silva, said the counselors are available to support students and staff affected by Ruppenthal’s death.
“It is expected that by providing a place of support for expressions of pain, students and staff can understand and cope with the loss,” the letter said.
“Just as we encourage students to express their feelings here at school, we also encourage them to talk about death at home. Listening to your child and recognizing his feelings will be useful. “
Ruppenthal was on his way to graduate from Kelvin this spring.
Manitoba Health told Global News last week that flu and respiratory diseases such as head and chest colds have taken over Manitoba.
Influenza A is one of two flu strains currently circulating in Manitoba, and 12 percent of patients tested positive earlier this month, health officials said.
Manitoba Health statistics show that another person has died and more than 30 have been hospitalized due to the flu since September.
The department says that the number of people who visited emergency rooms in the last week of 2019 was the highest in three years.
A memorandum to St. Boniface Hospital staff last week says that this year is unusual in the sense that three flu viruses have peaked at the same time.
Manitoba Health urges people to receive annual flu shots, especially those who are young, elderly and have chronic health conditions.
–With files from The Canadian Press
The excess capacity of Winnipeg hospitals as the flu season affects the city