A young pastor from Lafayette, Tenn., who rejected early advice from his wife that he should see a doctor about his illness, reportedly died tragically from the H1N1 flu virus, also known as the "Swine Flu," two Sundays ago.
A WSMV report revealed that Pastor Jonathan Martin, 36, of Willette Christian Church began feeling ill on Dec. 1 with a cough and fever, and his wife offered to take him to the doctor but he refused at first.
"With me being a physician assistant, I said, I think you have the flu. And I said, let me take you to the doctor, and he didn't want go," said the pastor's wife, Andrea Martin.
As his condition worsened, however, pastor Martin, a father of two young girls, begged his wife to take him to the emergency room when his illness was too far gone.
Now, doctors are warning of how deadly the flu can be and the pastor's grieving family is using the tragedy to raise awareness about the flu virus.
"What folks constantly forget, I'm afraid, is that influenza can take a perfectly normal person, a child or an adult, and strike them and put them in the hospital within 48 hours," explained Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to WSMV.
If Martin had taken a flu shot his death could have been prevent, said Schaffner in the report, which noted that more than 95 percent of flu cases are H1N1.
"It can be prevented by vaccine," said Schaffner.
A 19 Action News report highlighted that since the start of the flu season, at least 190 people have been hospitalized for flu in Nashville and the seven surrounding counties. Two people including the pastor have died.
"The vaccine is safe. It's effective. It's not too late to get vaccinated. It takes about 10 days to two weeks to get maximum protection," said Schaffner in that report.
Doctors said they expected the situation to get worse. Beyond getting the flu shot, they advise practicing proper hygiene like washing your hands often and avoiding large crowds or staying home if you are sick.