Influenza blamed for death of Portage woman

Influenza blamed for death of Portage woman.  (

A Portage woman is believed to be the first person in Kalamazoo County to die from the flu this season.

According to family, Richelle Quick passed away at Bronson Hospital Wednesday night after being diagnosed with the flu just days earlier.

Quick's family says she was pulled off life support less than 24 hours after being rushed to the hospital after waking up unresponsive and with a 106 degree fever.

"She thought , I had influenza, I'll get over it," said Quick's mother Kathy Wellar.

The family says the 52-year-old had always been in good health.

Wellar said Quick showed signs of symptoms days before before visiting an urgent care clinic last Sunday. Doctors diagnosed with her Influenza type A or H3N2.

"I don't think she realized the severity of it," said daughter Tessa Quick.

Quick says her condition deteriorated rapidly in the coming days.

"When I went in to check on here she couldn't talk, she had just a very blank stare," Quick said.

Her family members says Quick was unresponsive when she was rushed to the hospital. They say Quick died from sepsis after both kidneys failed, from having the flu and pneumonia.

The Kalamazoo County Health Department confirmed it's investigating a flu-related death, but spokesperson Lyndi Warner says the department, "Couldn’t confirm any further details."

"It can happen very quickly, take small children for example, they can start off with symptoms and 24 hours later, be on a ventilator," said Dr. David Davenport, infectious disease specialist at Borgess Hospital.

Davenport says the number of hospitalizations for the flu in Kalamazoo County are up significantly, and says the H3N2 strain is more deadly than others.

"Historically, H3N2 leads to more hospitalizations, more complications, more deaths," Davenport said.

Davenport said while the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine isn’t great, it’s still incredibly important to get a flu shot. Quick's family said she did not get a flu shot.

"It affected her a lot worse because of that I think," Wellar said.

Her family wants others to not make the same mistake.

"Get a flu shot and recognize the symptoms and seek help early, go to the hospital, don't try to tough it out," Wellar said.

Quick was known in the community for running a long-time home daycare program. Her funeral services are scheduled for January 15 at Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.