New mum dies in swine flu tragedy

THE MOTHER of a new born baby has died after developing complications with pneumonia while being treated for swine flu.

Sarah Applin, who was from Thurston, died at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, on Tuesday. She was 32.

Her son William had been delivered early by Caesarean section three days before Christmas and is in the hospital’s special care baby unit where he is said to be doing well.

Now her husband Richard and parents Jane and Barry Waterman, who run the White Horse, in Beyton, have urged pregnant women and other at- risk groups to have the flu vaccination.

“Our daughter Sarah Applin aged 32 sadly died at West Suffolk hospital on Tuesday, January 4, of complications with pneumonia following treatment for swine flu,” said a family statement.

“Her son, William was delivered by Caesarean section on December 22 and is doing well in the special care baby unit.

“We, Jane and Barry Waterman and Sarah’s husband Richard, would ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this time while we come to terms with this tragic event.

“We would like to strongly urge any person on the at risk register, especially pregnant women, to have the flu vaccination.”

The Bury Free Press featured Mrs Applin and her husband four years ago. Their daughter Charlotte was born three and a half weeks early, arriving on New Year’s Day 2007.

A spokeswoman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “We would like to take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to the patient’s family at this difficult time.

“We are required to report any flu death to the strategic health authority, who will, in turn, feed the information to the Department of Health.”.

She would not discuss any other details however nor say whether there had been any other swine flu-related deaths at the hospital.

Suffolk director of public health Dr Brian Keeble said the take up of the swine flu vaccination in the under 65s at-risk groups had been at about 40-50 per cent.

“As the flu is becoming more widespread, people are changing their mind, but unfortunately people are quite blasé about these things,” he said. “For the vast majority of people last year swine flu was a relatively minor illness. It is only now they are believing what we have been saying all along that it is potentially fatal.

“There is a bit more swine flu about than perhaps one might have predicted this year and that makes vaccination even more important.”

He added that he expected reports of swine flu deaths in the media will lead to a big uptake probably exceeding last year.

Mrs Applin’s funeral will take place at St Edmunds Roman Catholic Church, in Bury, on Thursday at 2pm, followed by interment at Beyton Churchyard.