A 12-year-old girl from California died several days after being misdiagnosed with the flu, her family says.
When Alyssa Alcaraz fell ill in mid-December, her mother Keila Lino brought her to an urgent care center. She was diagnosed with the flu and stayed home from school to rest.
Four days later, Alcaraz had trouble breathing and her mom brought her back to urgent care, but by that time it was too late. Alcaraz’s organs shut down and she died on December 17, The Washington Post reports.
It wasn’t until her daughter’s memorial service that Lino learned the child had died of cardiac arrest and septic shock after a bacterial infection entered her bloodstream, according to the newspaper.
Septic shock is the body’s overwhelming response to an infection. It can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
The CDC reports there are over 1 million cases of sepsis each year in the U.S. It kills more than 258,000 Americans annually, making it the ninth leading cause of disease-related deaths.
Alyssa’s father, Jeremy Alcaraz, mourned his daughter’s sudden and unexpected death in a heartbreaking Facebook post.
“I’m so torn right now, it’s killing me,” he wrote. “I can’t even explain my pain to you guys. I miss my baby so so much.”
Lino posted videos on Facebook showing relatives releasing balloons in her daughter’s memory, saying “for ALYSSA… missing you everyday.”
Two GoFundMe pages have been set up by family members to help pay for funeral costs.
“She was so friendly and outgoing, and just a beautiful soul that was taken far too soon. This has been a complete heart wrenching shock for everyone to grasp.”
According to her obituary, published in the Visalia Times-Delta, Alcaraz enjoyed science and choir.
“Alyssa had a passion for music, not a day went by that she wouldn’t sing her little heart out,” it reads. “Now she’s singing with the angels.”