Swine flu claims another victim as mum, 52, dies

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

SWINE flu has been blamed for the death of another Wrexham person.

The family of Katrina Theis, 52, had to make the heartwrenching decision to reduce her oxygen supply and she died on Wednesday afternoon.

Katrina already had a number of medical problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, anaemia, kidney failure and diabtetes, which made it difficult for her to fight the flu virus.

She died of pneumonia but her family believe it was brought on by the H1N1 swine flu virus.

It follows the death of Martin Clorley, 37, of Coedpoeth, who died because of the virus on Boxing Day but had no underlying medical conditions.

Katrina’s daughter, Bethan Capes, 24 and son Ross Capes, 27, paid tribute to a “loving and joyful” mother who loved her family, animals and cooking.

Bethan, who is a healthcare worker at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said it was a very emotional and difficult decision to reduce her mum’s oxygen supply.

Katrina became ill with the flu on Wednesday, December 29, and by New Year’s Day was struggling to breathe.

Antibiotics, steroids and a nebuliser from the out-of-hours medical service didn’t help and so the mum-of-two was rushed into the Maelor Hospital.

“They managed to get her stable but by January 2 they said she was very, very poorly and they had to ventilate her,” said Bethan.

“The doctors really did all they could and we were even in discussions to fly her to a hospital in Leicester for treatment.

“But she was only given a five per cent survival rate and we didn’t want to put her through the trauma.

“The doctor said she was one of the sickest people he had ever seen.”

Katrina’s condition continued to deteriorate and the family decided it would be best to let her go and gathered to say their goodbyes.

Bethan, who lives at the family home on Ffordd Ifor, Penycae, said: “If she had eventually come off the ventilator she wouldn’t have been able to live the life she had and she wouldn’t have liked it.

“She would have probably had to be on oxygen permanently.”

Bethan said her mum first developed medical problems when she was 35-years old. But Bethan says she was shocked to learn her mum had suspected swine flu.

“There were no symptoms like swine flu and I think there needs to be more awareness,” she said.

“There are so many people who have been diagnosed with it and people are dying with it.”

She added staff at the Maelor had been very busy dealing with many cases of flu.

Katrina, who was brought up in Croydon, London, before moving to Penycae about 25 years ago, worked as an accounts manager at Wrexham Tool Hire in Pandy.

Owner of the business, Ian Miles, said employees had been shocked and saddened at the death.

“She loved her job, was a conscientious worker and will be sadly missed,” he said.

Bethan said the family hope to spread Katrina’s ashes in Mohaka in Spain where they had spent many happy holidays.

“She was just a fantastic woman and she was my best friend,” added Bethan.

“She was a very happy person, she loved her brandy and coke, she loved her holidays and her family.

“She also collected fairies and loved cooking and baking and animals.”

Bethan added a special thank you to Doctor Gemmell at the Maelor Hospital for all his help and support.

Katrina also left behind her sister, Kaz Theis, her father Michael Theis, nephew Daniel Ward and close friend Sue Tookey.

Kaz Theis paid tribute to a loving sister who had time to chat to everyone.

Speaking about the suspected swine flu, she said: “She didn’t have the jab because she didn’t like it.

“You just think it’s never going to happen to you.

“I encourage everybody to have it done. She was just my sister and was always there for me.”

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read