WEATHERFORD, Texas — This small northeast Texas town grieved Monday over the flu-related death of a popular second-grade teacher who was reluctant to pick up a prescription to combat the virus because the medication’s co-pay amounted to $116.
Heather Holland, 38, a mother of two, had been ill with flu symptoms for a week, said her husband, Frank Holland. She was prescribed an antidote, but his wife balked at the insurance co-payment, he said.
Holland bought the prescription himself when he found out, but her condition quickly worsened.
“Friday night things escalated, and she ended up in the ICU,” Holland said. “The doctors got the blood cultures back, and they had to put her on dialysis early Saturday.”
He said his wife died Sunday morning in the hospital. She was the mother of a 10-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
The Texas Health Department reported last week 2,897 people in Texas have died of pneumonia or influenza between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31. The U.S. is on track to have the worst flu outbreak in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
“I have to be strong for the kids but it’s still surreal, it hasn’t all set in,” Holland told the Weatherford Democrat. “We’ve been together a long time, over half my life. She’s my best friend.”
Officials at the Ikard Elementary School said Mrs. Holland had been a beloved teacher there for four years and had nearly completed requirements for her master’s degree. They said it was a difficult day Monday for the school. Counselors were on campus to console the students.
“We have been learning a lot,” Heather Holland wrote on the school’s website page earlier this year. “I am really enjoying my kiddos. We are working hard on reading, writing and learning to quickly compose and decompose numbers.”
Details for this story were provided by the Weatherford, Texas, Democrat.