Poughkeepsie teen shares near-death experience to spread flu vaccine awareness

Posted: Updated:

A Dutchess County teen is sharing her personal story of when she came close to death in an effort to spread awareness of the flu vaccine.

A healthy, 14-year-old Rebecca Berak returned to Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Monday - a year after she was hospitalized there with a near-death experience. 

The Poughkeepsie honors student tested positive for influenza, leading to a 106-degree fever, pneumonia and eventually a medically induced coma.

Her family didn't know if she would survive.

According to the medical journal Pediatrics, 50% of children who die due to influenza each year were previously healthy kids with no specific risk factors for severe disease.

Berak’s survival depended on the medical team at Maria Fareri's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

After six weeks in the PICU and 10 weeks in rehab, Berak returned home to Dutchess County. She's back in school, and the Beraks say they are eager to tell their tale on the toll influenza can have on someone who isn't vaccinated.

 

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