14 dead in Middle Tennessee from flu-like symptoms - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

14 dead in Middle Tennessee from flu-like symptoms

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

According to the latest reports, 14 people in Nashville and surrounding counties have died from having the flu while 441 have been hospitalized.

John Martin is a survivor after a bout with the H1N1 flu shut down his kidneys. Now he's on dialysis every other day.

"It's scary to think that I could have died when there's people out here that's dying every day," said John Martin.

A month ago, John Martin was a healthy, active young man. He worked in Charlotte as a construction worker.

"Before, I built houses and stuff," said John Martin. "I was all over houses and ladders and stuff."

Today he's moving along much slower with the help of a cane.

"I can barely climb a set of steps now," said John Martin.

Martin and his wife had not gotten flu shots when they both got sick in December.

"She started feeling better the next day, I was worse," said John Martin. "I had to go back to the hospital."

He was diagnosed with H1N1 flu and pneumonia in both lungs. Weeks later his kidneys started to shut down. He never thought it would get that bad.

"Having the flu to me was just being sick, having been sick for three or four days or a week," said John Martin. "The H1N1 is just a lot different."

Emergency rooms throughout Middle Tennessee Have seen a significant increase in patients with flu-like symptoms, from Maury Regional to Vanderbilt to Tri-Star Centennial medical centers.

Williamson Medical Center reports about 10 percent of their ER users have been people with symptoms of flu.

"There's been a few people up here with the same thing he's had, and some of them weren't so fortunate," said Wendy Martin, John Martin's wife.

After spending Christmas, New Year's Day and his 39th birthday in the hospital, the Martins' perspective on the flu has changed. Both said they will be taking flu shots next year.

"If they're sick, they better go to the doctor," said John Martin. "They better not wait around on it because I waited and it was almost too late."

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