15-year-old’s parents grieve, warn of flu’s sudden, deadly danger

For months, Marino Molina planned for his oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party in April.

Kira Molina, a 10th-grader at Newnan High School, had to be talked into having the celebration.

What she didn’t know was that her father planned to give her a car — the kind most kids only dream about owning.

He was secretly restoring a black-on-black 1964 Ford Falcon convertible.

He won’t get to see Kira in that car now.

The 15-year-old teen died from flu-related causes on Tuesday, according to Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk and her family.

She was one of the youngest Georgians to die of flu-related causes in what health officials are calling the worst influenza season in nearly a decade. It also claimed a 5-year-old Marietta boy, Channel 2 Action News reported. The station said Elijah Snook died Saturday at an area hospital after his family had taken him to the emergency room Jan. 13 with flu-like symptoms.

“To be honest, I don’t know how (I’m coping),” said Molina, who owns a carpet sales and installation business.

“I believed in God until this and that’s honest,” he said, his voice breaking. “I woke up and prayed every morning and now I’d like to have gloves and meet Him and pop Him in the mouth. There’s no way you take a child that’s willing to give anything to anybody. You don’t take children like that. If there is a God, where is he then? Why?”

RelatedCobb ER sees record-breaking numbers numbers as hospitals deal with the flu

Hawk said Wednesday that the flu affected Kira’s liver.

She died of liver failure “due to the flu.” He detailed the teen’s death in a statement.

He said the office received a call from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Tuesday reporting Kira’s death.

“Ms. Molina was not feeling well on January 25th, her parents took her to a clinic where she was tested for the flu and found to be negative. She was sent home,” the statement said. “Ms. Molina was still feeling ill on January 27th, but talking with friends.

“On January 28th parents found Ms. Molina unresponsive, 911 was called and she was transported to Piedmont Newnan Hospital Emergency Department and shortly transferred to CHOA.”

Hawk said a flu test was positive, and other tests revealed liver failure.

She died a a few hours after going to Atlanta.

RelatedFlu season said to be the worst in a decade

“This was not an overdose of acetaminophen,” he said. “But liver failure due to influenza A.”

Marino Molina said Kira “loved animals. She would give you half of her food if she saw someone hungry. She would try to beat my dogs to the door when I came in and say, ‘Daddy’s home’. She’s been doing that since she was a baby.”

Kira has a younger sister named Chloe.

“I don’t know if she really knows what to think right now,” said Molina, who also has the flu.

Related: How the virus kills you

Her parents said that when Kira became ill, she had bloodshot eyes, congestion, a headache, sore throat, stomach pains, vomiting and severe dehydration. She could barely eat or drink.

Her mother took her to an urgent-care center. She was told 116-pound Kira had a sinus infection.

RelatedGrady resorts to special measures to deal with flu

She hadn’t had the flu shot because, Marino Molina said, “it only has a 30 percent chance of working and this is not like your typical flu.”

Kira came home and went to school for a couple of days. Then she seemed to get worse.

Her parents planned one morning to her regular doctor “because she was getting worse and not better,” said her mother, Jacqueline Molina.

When she went into her daughter’s room, Kira was unresponsive.

She was still alive but cold to the touch.

They rushed her to the hospital about eight minutes away.

Her mother said she didn’t have any underlying health issues. “She was a perfectly healthy, 15-year-old girl,” she said.

Marino Molina thinks that along the way doctors missed critical signs.

Once she was stabilized they flew her to Atlanta.

She died the next morning.

“I never got to talk to her again,” he said.

He thinks he may have caught the virus after emptying Kira’s trash.

“It’s sneaky,” he said. “All I can tell you it’s sneaky. When it hit me I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t swallow my own saliva. When I went to the hospital they asked was I drunk,” he said. “One minute, 20 minutes, a hour you’re fine, Then all of a sudden I’m walking funny, I’m disoriented, my words won’t come to me.”

They warn other parents to take this bug seriously. If their children get sick “take them to the hospital. Don’t let it go back two or three days. It’s fast,” Jacqueline Molina said.

The Molina family has set up an account at Charter Bank in Newnan to help pay for expenses. The account is in Marino Molina’s name under the account #22537310.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Migos rapper Offset arrested in Jonesboro on gun, drug charges
Migos rapper Offset arrested in Jonesboro on gun, drug charges

Migos member Offset was arrested after a traffic stop in Jonesboro at approximately 3 p.m. Friday.  The rapper was pulled over in a 2014 Porche 911 Carerra after performing what Clayton County Police deemed an improper lane change at Upper Riverdale Road and Tara Boulevard. Upon approaching the vehicle, officers detected an odor of marijuana and...
Millions fall for South Carolina dentist in viral ‘In My Fillings’ dance video
Millions fall for South Carolina dentist in viral ‘In My Fillings’ dance video

A dentist in Greenville, South Carolina, is inspiring millions to get their teeth cleaned after taking on the Drake-inspired “In My Feelings” dance challenge. Dr. Rich Constantine’s version of the “shiggy” -- a dance inspired by the rapper -- has over 24 million views on Facebook. >> Read more trending...
Pools, hot tubs more likely than lakes to make you sick, studies find
Pools, hot tubs more likely than lakes to make you sick, studies find

Taking a cool, refreshing dip in a lake or swimming pool is one of summer’s enjoyments and sometimes a necessary escape from the stifling heat. But two recent federal health studies found that some waters is better than others, at least when it comes to avoiding waterborne illnesses. Of 633 outbreaks nationwide caused by bacteria, viruses or...
Home remedies: Treating your sunburn
Home remedies: Treating your sunburn

It boils down to what’s in the term sunburn: “sun” and “burn.” Simply put, the sun burns your skin. And the result can be pain, redness, blisters and peeling skin. “Prevention is the key,” says Dr. Cindy Kermott, a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine physician. “But if you’ve already been sunburned...
Effortless ways to eat well this summer

It’s hot outside, and you’ve got about 50 million more fun things to do than ponder nutritious choices. So just … don’t! With our simple tricks and tips, eating well is as effortless as lounging by the pool. Problem: We love Mexican and Chinese takeout. Do you have any smart picks? Solution: On Chinese night, order steamed...
More Stories