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

Insurance plans push healthier choices at grocery store
Insurance plans push healthier choices at grocery store

MINNEAPOLIS — Sandy Brezinski savored the savings last week when her preferred brand of organic tortilla chips went on sale. Not only did her grocery store discount the item to $2.99, a program offered through her employer’s health insurance knocked another $2 off the price. “You get that for 99 cents,” Brezinski said. &ldquo...
Walkability luring homebuyers to small town centers
Walkability luring homebuyers to small town centers

Anyone who has been tormented by Atlanta’s traffic may have wished for the option of ditching the car, if at least for the evening or weekend. Yet the metro area’s sprawl often means going for a gallon of milk or out to a movie means getting back behind the wheel. The dependency on vehicles that sprawl has created is a habit many homebuyers...
16th Street Baptist Church: Site of tragedy galvanized a movement
16th Street Baptist Church: Site of tragedy galvanized a movement

The importance of the 16th Street Baptist Church in the annals of African-American history can’t be overestimated. Not only was it the first black church to organize in Birmingham, Ala., it was the target in 1963 of the racially motivated bombing that killed four young girls and galvanized the civil rights movement. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia...
Flu shots less effective than normal, CDC report says

It turns out the rumors were true: This year’s flu shot is indeed less effective than usual. An unusually resilient strain of influenza called H3N2 has been the predominant assailant this season, and the vaccine rolled out last year was ill-suited to protect against it. While previous analyses from Canada and Australia on its H3N2 effectiveness...
Biss brings Beethoven sonatas to Symphony Hall
Biss brings Beethoven sonatas to Symphony Hall

It’s understandable if Jonathan Biss becomes known as “the Beethoven guy.” The 37-year-old pianist has made a name for himself by performing and recording Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, solo pieces that span Beethoven’s entire compositional career. Biss is in the midst of a multi-year performance series of the full...
More Stories