Family of H1N1 victim speaks

By Chuck Weber email

BOYNTON BEACH, FL (WFLX)-For the first time, we are hearing from the family of the Palm Beach County woman who died from the H1N1 flu.

"We were so close, so close," said Gladys Clinton, bursting into tears. Clinton is the aunt who raised 25-year old LaToya Riley. Riley died of H1N1 in late June.

Riley had been in her sixth month of pregnancy. Before Riley died, doctors delivered her baby more than eight weeks premature.

"The same night she went to the hospital," explained Clinton, "they delivered the baby. And they say she walked to the nursery and saw the baby and everything. After that she went into a coma." Riley never recovered.

Clinton said she's comforted LaToya got to see her baby before she died. Clinton said the child is still on a breathing tube, but is doing well. The Health Department had earlier stated the baby was fine.

Clinton says LaToya is her sister's daughter. Clinton says she took in LaToya when she was just a baby and raised her. LaToya and her eight- and four-year old sons were living with Clinton. Just more than six months into LaToya's pregnancy, she got sick.

"She had a cough," recalled Clinton. "I said, 'LaToya, you need to call your doctor.'"

Clinton said LaToya thought she could wait until her scheduled appointment with her physician, but she ended up feeling so bad she called 911 twice. The second time she ended up at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, where she later died.

Clinton said the possibility of H1N1 never crossed her mind. LaToya and her sons were healthy, she said.

"She had a good heart," said Clinton describing her niece. "She thought about herself last, and thought about her kids and me first."