FOSTER CITY, Calif. (KTVU) - The family of 44-year-old Jason Barbeau had doctors take him off life support Thursday after he never recovered from the flu.
The family I still struggling to comprehend he fell victim to the infection that has rattled the country.
"I haven't wrapped my head around it. It's been a treacherous three weeks," said Barbeau's sister Arsenia Molina.
They say Barbeau was home in Foster City Christmas Day, but wasn't feeling well. In otherwise perfect health, he could just ride it out for a few days when he started noticing symptoms,
“He was feeling feverish, like the typical flu everyone gets that lasts a couple of days,” said Molina.
His wife, Klara, says she finally convinced him to see a doctor, who detected pneumonia and gave him antibiotics then sent him home.
Four days later, he went to the hospital as he seemed to be getting worse. He started coughing and turning blue. The nurses came in to intubate him.
Doctors put Barbeau, who worked in information technology, into a medically induced coma for eight days. He would never regain consciousness.
He was transferred to California Pacific Medical Center where he remained on life support for more than three weeks. But the damage the flu did to Barbeau's lungs was too much to overcome.
His family says at no time while he had the flu did he ever think it would end up killing him.
"I'm in disbelief. And you keep reading stories every day and then it becomes real for you," said Molina.
Barbeau grew up in San Mateo. He lived in Foster City with his wife, two dogs and two cats.
"He was full of life, loved fiercely and accumulated a lot of friends and kept them,” she said. “He was just a crazy, whacky kind of guy.’
The family says they want people to take the flu seriously and advocate hard for their health care.
A Gofundme page has been set up to help with medical expenses.