By MIKE STARK (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
May 21, 2009 5:15 AM EDT
SALT LAKE CITY – Marcos Antonio Sanchez went from being an outgoing 21-year-old to Utah’s first swine flu fatality in less than a week.
Last week, Sanchez enjoyed swimming and lived with his girlfriend. Then on Saturday, he checked into a hospital, vomiting blood and burning with fever. His lungs shut down on Tuesday.
The next day, his mother made the agonizing decision to take her son off life-support, pushing the nation’s death toll to 10 people.
“I knew he was suffering,” Christina Huitron told KSL-TV. “I don’t know how he was feeling, but I just knew I had to do it because he was passing away slowly anyways, and I didn’t want him to suffer anymore.”
Dr. David Sundwall, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said Sanchez was overweight and had chronic medical conditions, including respiratory problems, that put him at risk.
“This is not a person who was overall genuinely healthy,” Sundwall said.
Sanchez had not traveled recently. Dagmar Vitek, medical director for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, said an investigation to determine how he contracted the virus was under way. Utah has 122 confirmed cases of the virus.
In neighboring Arizona, health officials said Wednesday a 13-year-old boy from Tucson also has died with swine flu. The teenager died Friday of complications from the flu. He had been hospitalized May 10.
Arizona Department of Health Services spokeswoman Patti Woodcock said an older sibling of the teen is hospitalized with the virus, while other family members have recovered. The World Health Organization has raised its tally of swine flu cases around the world to 11,034 and 85 deaths.
WHO says most of the new 791 cases have been reported in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Mexico confirmed three more deaths linked to swine flu, while the United States confirmed two since Wednesday’s tally.
At least 38 other countries have also reported cases since the outbreak began last month.
In New York City, officials, colleagues, friends and family gathered Wednesday at a funeral home to remember Mitchell Wiener, an 55-year-old assistant principal who died of swine flu Sunday.