Pregnant woman dies of pneumonia, swine flu

October 31, 2009 (CHICAGO) Carrie Brinson was five months pregnant, and though she'd had several miscarriages in the past and was on bed rest as a precaution, everything seemed fine-- until Brinson contracted what she thought was a simple cold.

Her family never even considered H1N1.

"I didn't think it at all," said Carrie's sister-in-law, Laurien Brinson. "The last thing that came across our minds. She was pregnant. Her immune system must be down. She'll get better on her own."

Carrie Brinson died unexpectedly Friday morning along with her unborn child. But just three weeks ago the future looked bright. She was happily married and five months pregnant.

Then she got sick. And, for the last two weeks, doctors at Rush University Medical Center treated the 25-year-old mother-to-be. Still, even after the H1N1 diagnosis was confirmed, her sister-in-law says Carrie appeared to be getting better.

"She lost the last baby," Laurien said, "so we were really looking forward to this pregnancy. Plus she loved children. She loved children and wanted one of her own."

Brinson was a minister at her father-in-law's church. She was working towards a PhD in theology while at the same time serving as a teacher's aide. Because she was pregnant, Brinson fell into the category of those who are recommended to get the H1N1 vaccine; when she got sick it was still not available in the city.

"You see it on the news and think it'll never hit home. You just never believe it will hit home," said Laurien Brinson.

There have been some 530 H1N1-related deaths nationwide in the last two months. Aside from being pregnant, Brinson had no underlying factors complicating her symptoms.

It's a very tragic story and certainly serves as a reminder: now that it's available, all pregnant women need to get vaccinated.

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