A Queensland mother of three has died from the flu, with her husband sharing his grief just hours after her death to warn others about how quickly the virus can take hold.
Jacinta Foulds, 35, had flu symptoms for more than a week and was diagnosed with influenza A on Friday. She died on Wednesday morning in Toowoomba hospital.
There have been 37,000 cases of the flu reported in Queensland this year, with Ms Foulds the 84th person to die.
She had been feeling out of breath and tired for days but took a turn for the worse on Tuesday morning and decided to call husband Daniel Foulds at work.
“She just sounded off,” the self-employed Toowoomba carpenter said.
“So I jumped into the ute and headed straight home, I walked in the door and took one look at her and knew.
“She had just took a massive turn, boom.
“I had to ring an ambulance.
“She was in and out, and they took an hour to stabilise her.”
Mr Foulds said his wife was swarmed by doctors when they arrived at the Toowoomba hospital.
He was told she could die.
They put her in an induced coma and gave her a 50:50 chance of survival.
“I couldn’t comprehend it,” he said.
Ms Foulds, a nail technician, had developed septicaemia and her heart had to be restarted three times.
“She was fighting the flu so hard, the bug got in and it destroyed her,” Mr Foulds said.
“We got to say our last words together.
“She apologised. I said ‘don’t be sorry’.
“After that, they put her out and she crashed.
“I still can’t believe she’s gone.”
‘If you’re sick, go to the doctor’
Mr Foulds described his wife as one of the toughest people he knew, a woman who was up and walking just six hours after each of her three caesarean deliveries.
He said he was struggling to hold it together for his children, aged between 11 and seven.
While it was taxing to do interviews so soon after her death, he wanted to encourage others to seek treatment and get the flu shot.
“I’ve got three kids without a mum because of a flu,” he said.
“This stuff kills — I’ve lost my soulmate and the mother of [my] children.
“If you’re sick, go to the doctor.”
Mr Foulds coached junior football at the Toowoomba Valleys Junior Rugby League club and his wife was also well known there.
Club president Michael Watts said the community was devastated by Ms Foulds’s death and would rally behind the grieving family.
“It was definitely a big shock, especially in this day and age with modern medicine — you just don’t think of these things,” Mr Watts said.
“Everyone’s put their hand up to make meals and help out wherever we can.
“I remember Jacinta as a fun-loving, well-hearted mother of three — she was always outgoing and outspoken — a real pleasure to be around.”