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Family: 6-Year-Old NJ Girl Who Died From Flu Was Vaccinated

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The family of a 6-year-old North Bergen, New Jersey girl who died from the flu spoke out Thursday.

Nevaeh Hernandez was the second New Jersey child to die from the flu amid the epidemic this season. Nevaeh became ill over the weekend and her condition quickly deteriorated.


Nevaeh had gotten a flu shot, had no underlying conditions and still succumbed to the illness, her family said.

According to Louis Zayas, the attorney for the Hernandez family, on Feb. 10 Nevaeh began suffering headaches and went home from school. Later that evening, after developing a fever, the family took the girl to the hospital, where she was discharged after medical staff reported not seeing any signs of influenza, Zayas claimed.

The following day, Nevaeh's fever returned and hit a temperature of 105 degrees, prompting her parents have her taken by ambulance to another hospital, Zayas said. Doctors there diagnosed her with having the H1N1 strain of the flu and attempted to treat her for fever and four seizures. Within 48 hours, she had died.

"The reason for this conference is not to talk about whether she could have survived had she been properly diagnosed," Zayas said. "The purpose of this conference is to let parents know how deadly this strain of the flu is."

Her grandmother said she should never have been released.

"As a parent you have a right to request if you feel your child is not right and only parents know that. Stay there, request whatever you need; a doctor, I don't feel right, I'm not going anywhere. Because we feel it could have been prevented," Sandy Rivera said.

When asked about the potential for filing a lawsuit against the hospital, Zayas said no decision had yet been made by the family.

The girl was a kindergartner at Lincoln Elementary School.

Nevaeh Hernandez
Nevaeh Hernandez, 6, of North Bergen, New Jersey, died from the flu, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. (via GoFundMe)

Photos of Neveah showed her in a bright pink tutu, a hot pink shirt at the pool, and a pink jacket for school. A family friend told CBS2's Jessica Layton that pink was Neveah's favorite color.

Neveah Hernandez
Nevaeh Hernandez, 6, of North Bergen, New Jersey, died from the flu, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. (Credit: Hernandez Family/CBS2)

Since Nevaeh's death Monday, the school district said it will be disinfecting all surfaces – including sinks and doorknobs – with bleach solution.

Free flu shots were offered Thursday. The Department of Health said a flu shot is not one of the required vaccines for elementary school students.

New Jersey Health officials last month said a 4-year-old girl in was the state's first flu-related death this season.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60 children have died of flu-related illness so far this year.

A GoFundMe has been set up for medical, funeral and memorial costs for Neveah's family.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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