Heather Holand, a 38-year-old second-grade teacher, and the mother of two children died because she was unable to afford the $116 Tamiflu prescription to treat the flu. Even though the husband later bought the pills, she eventually died as her symptoms got worse.
“Friday night, things escalated, and she ended up in the ICU,” Holland told weatherforddemocrat.com. The doctors got the blood cultures back, and they had to put her on dialysis early Saturday.”
But Heather went into septic shock and died the next day, leaving behind Frank, a 10-year-old-daughter, and a 7-year-old son.
“I have to be strong for the kids but it’s still surreal, it hasn’t all set in,” Holland said. “We’ve been together a long time, over half my life. She’s my best friend, my soulmate, my everything.
“It hasn’t set in with them yet either,” Holland said of his children.
Ikard Elementary, where Heather taught, is also trying to cope with the loss.
Charlotte LaGrone, a spokesperson for the Weatherford Independent School District, said in a statement that “Today is a difficult day at that campus, and we are working our processes to care for students, parents, and staff.”
Counselors at the school are offering their services to help students, staff, and parents.
Meanwhile, the district is also sensitive to the health concerns parents might have, but Weatherford ISD assured that they had taken precautions to ensure the health of the students.
‘Our campus custodians have been deep-cleaning our schools since December, and the campus where the teacher worked underwent another deep cleaning on Friday, Feb. 2,’ a written statement from the district said.
As the CDC warns, “this flu season is on track to becoming one of the worst in recent history.” But Heather’s death was preventable, and shows a lot of problems with America’s healthcare system. As Bernie Sanders often cries out, there’s no reason for an American citizen to have to go without treatment. Heather worked a low-paying job as an elementary school teacher. She had children. And she died because the Republicans didn’t think she was worth $116. Every time Paul Ryan or Rand Paul or Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell talk about gutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, or the Affordable Care At, this is what they mean. Low-income and lower-middle-class Americans are not worth saving.