Student, 18, dies of swine flu three days after going to GP with cold
A GRIEVING father yesterday told how his family had been left "utterly devastated" after his teenage son died of swine flu just days after complaining that he could not shake off a cold.
David Owen, 18, from the Douglas area of Dundee, died in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the city's Ninewells Hospital on Saturday. The unemployed computer animation student was the youngest of a family of three.
His father, David Owen senior, 55, said: "We can't believe that David has gone. He had a cold that wouldn't go away - or that's all we thought it was.
"The government warns that swine flu is dangerous for the old, the really young, or the unhealthy. You don't expect a fit and healthy 18-year-old who led an active life to die from it."
Mr Owen said that David had been admitted to Ninewells last Wednesday after he called at his GP surgery complaining of feeling unwell.
He said: "Last Wednesday, he had a cough, a temperature and was feeling a bit dizzy. He said he couldn't get to sleep the night before because he had crabs crawling all over him. I said, 'Crabs? What are you on about?' And he said, 'Aye crabs, did you see them? They were crawling everywhere.'
"We phoned the doctor, and I told her about the hallucinating. She asked to speak to David and he answered all her questions."
Mr Owen continued: "David had a cough and a temperature and was feeling a bit dizzy, but we thought, okay, we'll go to the doctor that afternoon.
"On the way out of the house he fell at the door because of his dizziness and that was worrying, but he got up again and I took him in. The doctor took one look at him, though, and said to get an ambulance as David needed to go to hospital."
Minutes after his son was admitted to Ninewells, Mr Owen was informed that David was being taken to intensive care.
Mr Owen said: "I went in and found David surrounded by people wearing gowns and masks. They had taken his clothes off to examine him and his clothes were in a bag. As they took him away, David said, 'Remember my clothes in the bag, Dad.'
"They were the last words David spoke. I replied, 'I'll see you later, son', but I never expected what was going to happen."
Mr Owen, together with his other sons Stewart, 30, and Brian, 25, spent Wednesday night at David's bedside at the ICU. A doctor told the family that David was seriously ill and that they should "prepare for the worst".
"He never regained consciousness," said Mr Owen. "They did all they could for David, and the staff in the intensive care unit were tremendous, but he just slipped away."
Figures released last Thursday by the Scottish Government revealed that 17 people died from flu in the previous seven days, the biggest toll since the reporting of deaths from the virus began.SWIFT AND MERCILESS DISEASE
TUESDAY night, 11 January: David Owen is unable to sleep.
WEDNESDAY, 12 January. In the morning he complains of having a cough, a temperature and feeling a bit dizzy. His family telephone the local GP surgery. As he leaves his home to go to the surgery, he stumbles and falls. A GP examines David and calls an ambulance to take him to Ninewells Hospital. Upon arrival David is admitted to intensive care.
WEDNESDAY night. David is in a coma. His father, David, right, and family are warned by a doctor at Ninewells to "prepare for the worst".
THURSDAY, 13 January: Results of tests confirm that David is suffering from swine flu.
SATURDAY 15 January. David dies in the ICU at Ninewells.
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