A BRIDE-TO-BE died two days after she was supposed to be married after contracting pneumonia in both lungs.
Katie Kozlowska, from Rayleigh, was 26 when she died in intensive care at Southend Hospital, after her health rapidly deteriorated over the course of just a month.
At one point during her treatment, doctors considered her body so weak, they put her in a medically-induced coma, but, despite this, unrepairable holes started to appear in her lungs and her organs began shutting down.
Her mother, Jean Barker, has written a book about Katie’s death. In it she recalls how, just after dawn on January 28, 2011, she was called to the hospital urgently, only to find her daughter was already dead.
“I collapsed on to the floor,” she wrote. “I refused to let her go. I didn’t want to leave her side.”
Doctors believed Miss Kozlowska had contracted pneumonia as a result of swine flu, which is believed to have infected 10 to 20 per cent of the world population between 2009 and 2010, killing more than 18,000 people.
Miss Kozlowska had got engaged to her partner of a year just weeks before being rushed to hospital but, even as she was breaking the news to her mother during a Christmas stay at her home in Derbyshire, her health was already deteriorating.
Miss Barker described how she began coughing and spluttering and “looked shocking”, but a doctor had told her she had nothing worse than common flu.
Despite being asked to stay longer, Miss Kozlowska decided to go home, but it wasn’t long after Christmas Miss Barker was given the news her daughter had been rushed to hospital.
By the time she arrived, however, Miss Kozlowska was receiving oxygen in the high-dependency unit and was suspected to be suffering from swine flu.
Although her death certificate recorded pneumonia as the cause of death, doctors believed she had been weakened by swine flu, allowing infections to appear in her lungs. Miss Barker’s book, the Angel Whispered, is available on Amazon.