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Archive for Monday, October 27, 2008

Survivor stresses importance of flu shots

Prairie Park School counselor Ed Barnhart reads to Angelyn Gargano's kindergarten class on Thursday. Barnhart recently returned to his position after being absent since February while he recovered from a near-fatal bout of influenza A.

Prairie Park School counselor Ed Barnhart reads to Angelyn Gargano's kindergarten class on Thursday. Barnhart recently returned to his position after being absent since February while he recovered from a near-fatal bout of influenza A.

October 27, 2008

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Survivor stresses importance of flu shots

Doctors are calling a local man a 'walking miracle' after defeating a deadly virus. 6News reporter Chardae Davis joins us now to tell us about his miraculous recovery. Enlarge video

Flu can be a deadly disease

Prairie Park School counselor Ed Barnhart survived a long fight earlier this year against influenza A. He's now a strong advocate for people getting the flu vaccine. And for good reason. Last flu season was particularly deadly for Kansans.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment:

¢ In the 2007-2008 flu season: 51 deaths in Kansas were linked directly to flu. Another 667 people died from pneumonia, while in the deaths of another 1,297 people, flu or pneumonia were contributing factors.

¢ In the 2006-2007 flu season: Four deaths in the state were linked directly to flu. Another 572 people died from pneumonia, and in the deaths of another 1,138 people, flu or pneumonia were contributing factors.

¢ In the 2005-2006 flu season: 21 Kansans' deaths were linked directly to flu. Another 543 people died from pneumonia, and in the deaths of another 1,266 people, flu or pneumonia were contributing factors.

When doctors at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka gave Ed Barnhart less than a 10 percent chance to live, pus had wrapped around his lungs and leached the air out of them, suffocating him from within. His temperature hit 106; his heart was beating dangerously fast. He'd contracted staph, strep throat and pneumonia.

Barnhart, 57, was battling for his life against influenza A.

He somehow pulled through, and recently he returned to work as a counselor at Prairie Park School.

Barnhart's wife, Jennifer, says God performed a miracle in keeping him alive. His doctor, Stephanie Blanken, a cardio-tracheologist at St. Francis, says it's nothing short of a medical miracle.

"Was it a miracle? Yeah," Blanken said. She said Barnhart's condition was one of the worst she has ever seen. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 51 deaths in the state were linked directly to influenza A and B last flu season.

The longest Lent

It started last Feb. 10, Ash Wednesday, as Barnhart sat in church.

"I feel awful," he told his wife.

Barnhart, a long-distance runner, went for a jog after the service. That night, his temperature skyrocketed to 103 degrees.

His wife drove him from their home in Osage City to St. Francis, and after an evaluation, they were told Barnhart simply had the flu. Twelve hours later, he was all but comatose.

The Barnharts returned to St. Francis, and a team of physicians diagnosed him with Influenza A. He would spend the next five and a half weeks drifting in and out of consciousness, fighting for his life.

"The only things they fear are Influenza A and bird flu, because either one of them could kill thousands," Barnhart said. Doctors told him that his symptoms mirrored those of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. That pandemic also involved a strain of Influenza A.

Barnhart says he's been told that a priest joined his family in his hospital room during the first days. They recited the Lord's Prayer. He doesn't remember that.

Just how Barnhart contracted Influenza A provides a warning to people who do not seek out flu vaccinations. Doctors suspect he breathed in the virus, or touched a surface previously touched by someone who carried the virus.

"They were Typhoid Mary, basically," said Barnhart, who didn't get a flu shot last year.

He developed pneumonia, which caused pus to fill and envelop his lungs. That, in turn, caused sepsis, an infection of the blood.

The pus that gripped his lungs could have been deadly. Jennifer Barnhart corresponded by e-mail with a friend, who chronicled Barnhart's fight. In a Feb. 15 e-mail, she wrote that Barnhart's lung "looked like melted cheese in pizza sauce."

His kidneys were failing, and Blanken says he was on the verge of needing a heart transplant.

He was on so many blood thinners that doctors installed a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe. One day, the tube blew out of his throat, spewing three pints of blood.

"I thought I was dying," Barnhart said. "I could see the blood splatters on the wall as it was coming out of my mouth, and I thought I was dead. I figured this was it, and I was beginning to suffocate."

He was rushed to intensive care and doctors stopped the bleeding. Within days, Barnhart was on his feet, even walking up and down stairs.

His recovery was moving fast, and he was released from St. Francis on Good Friday.

He and his wife can joke about it a little bit: "We think we'll do Lent differently than we did this year," he said.

Home, at last

After being released from St. Francis, Barnhart returned home to Osage City. He was supposed to spend six months at a rehabilitation facility, but doctors were so impressed by his recovery, they allowed him to go home.

"It has been nothing short of miraculous," Jennifer Barnhart said. "The fact that he was able to walk out of the hospital and begin the process of recovery is nothing short of a miracle."

But there were challenges ahead.

Barnhart couldn't speak until July, lingering effects of the tracheostomy tube that pressed against his vocal cords. He was weak. His weight dropped from 210 pounds to 179. His vision was blurred, and his balance unsteady.

Barnhart credits his wife and two children, William, 25, and Julia, 18, with his recovery.

"It's changed my whole family. We are the Waltons. We come together often and share often, but it's helped us come closer together," he said.

Jennifer Barnhart said she left her husband's bedside only twice: Once to help Julia pre-enroll at Kansas State University, and the other time to help Julia pick a prom dress.

"My wife and I have been married for 34 years (in December)," he said. "I loved her before. If you told me you could love your wife more, I'd say that's not possible."

Healing with prayer

Jennifer Barnhart said faith got them through the ordeal.

"Faith in God, and tons of love and support from family and friends and colleagues," she said.

Barnhart says he finds it easier to pray now, especially during the hourlong commute from Osage City.

"Prayer is a real comfortable feeling," he said. "I find myself collected in a prayer that some mornings run most of an hour, and that's different than I used to approach the prayer piece."

Back to work

Barnhart returned to work in September, but not before having two balloons placed in his heart to clear aortal blockage. Then, in early September, he lost his balance and fell upon an upended chair. The chair's metal legs caused a four-and-a-half inch gash to open in his stomach lining. He underwent another surgery.

But now he is back at work, and aiming for a long-distance run in May, perhaps in Kansas City or Oklahoma City.

David Williams, principal at Prairie Park, said Barnhart's return was welcome.

"He's more like his old self than he was when he first came back (in September)," he said. "He's just gotten stronger, and just done really, really well."

Williams said children noticed Barnhart's weight loss, and that he moved slower.

But, "they realized he was the same old Mr. Barnhart," Williams said.

And now that he's taken up his familiar spot as Prairie Park's unofficial greeter, things seem back to normal.

"It's wonderful to be back. I missed it," he said. "I'm alive for some reason. ... I love these kids, and I can make a difference. I think I've been kept alive to make a difference."

There's one thing he'll do for sure: Get a flu shot. He's looking forward to getting one this week. He hopes others will use his illness as motivation to get the vaccine.

"This is what we can do, because I don't hear any of these medical people saying these diseases are going to become less. I hear them saying they're going to get worse," he said.

Comments

gr 5 years, 5 months ago

And avoidance is the word.The FDA and others couldn't be wrong, could they?http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/oct...

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gr 5 years, 5 months ago

Kansas, right before where you quoted me, I said, "And I think paralysis as shown on CBC is another big deal."mustbhiorlo listed it."One of the earliest stories we usually hear of is how (blah blah blah)"We also hear of people who get chicken pox don't get it again either, but that doesn't mean chicken pox vaccines work or should be recommended."but it would be a joke to deny that a good chunk of our good health is due to vaccinations"Do you know what a "confounding variable" means? "but they don't change the fact that vaccinations and medications have saved lives much more than they have caused death or disability."You have not and cannot back that up."Wasn't the Spanish Flu of 1918 spread primarily by vaccinations?"Polio can be: http://www.whale.to/vaccines/polio5.htmlAnd I've also heard that they hardly ever get the right strain. If not many get sick, then they must have got it right, but if many get sick, well, they'll try again next year. Reminds you of the none2 mentality.I'm still waiting for someone to show how effectiveness of vaccines are determined. You'd think will all these supporters, someone would just come out and say it. Since they haven't would that be a confounding variable of either effectiveness cannot be determined or vaccines aren't effective or would it be the truth?I would think that if vaccines were effective, it would be easy to defend rather than spouting a bunch of emotional hype and avoiding factual support.

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Mkh 5 years, 5 months ago

Jason,I heard the exact same thing from a former employee of the CDC.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 5 months ago

I'll never forget when I used to work in the adult ICU at KU Med and the flu shots were being "marketed" to the workers of the hospital. One of the thoracic surgeons, one of the best I've ever worked with, was making rounds and overhead the nurses' conversation about the shot. What he said has always stuck with me:"That is the biggest pile of dung I've ever heard. The CDC is simply guessing which strains of flu will be prevalent this year and include those strains in the vaccine. There are 18 strains in the shot out of thousands that could become widespread. Your chances of being inoculated against the right virus are slim to none. Any benefit, which is like playing the lottery, is far outweighed by the risks."That's all I needed and I've never had a flu shot in my life.

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Mkh 5 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't the Spanish Flu of 1918 spread primarily by vaccinations?Also, I've heard that the last few years the CDC has NOT gotten the strain of the flu vaccination right and have been injecting people with a different flu than the one getting people sick.

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none2 5 years, 5 months ago

(continued)For myself, I have had many vaccinations during my life. As a child of someone who was in the military, we got a lot of vaccinations before we traveled to Asia. I am thankful for all the vaccinations that I have had. I do wish that they would have had a chicken pox vaccination when I was a kid, as I do not look forward to the possibility of having shingles when I get old. But go ahead, believe you have an uber-immune system that cannot be infected. Believe that you are more likely to die from the vaccination than the diseases that they serve to conquer. Believe that anybody who sees the sense to vaccinations must have some ulterior motive -- such as working for the pharmaceutical industry All these things would make for a great novel someday, but they don't change the fact that vaccinations and medications have saved lives much more than they have caused death or disability.

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none2 5 years, 5 months ago

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu:"...The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but is estimated at 2.5 to 5% of the human population, with 20% or more of the world population suffering from the disease to some extent. Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million in its first 25 weeks (in contrast, AIDS killed 25 million in its first 25 years)[citation needed]. Older estimates say it killed 4050 million people[12] while current estimates say 50 million to 100 million people worldwide were killed.[13] This pandemic has been described as "the greatest medical holocaust in history" and may have killed more people than the Black Death.[14]An estimated 7 million died in India, about 2.78% of India's population at the time. In the Indian Army, almost 22% of troops who caught the disease died of it[citation needed]. In the U.S., about 28% of the population suffered, and 500,000 to 675,000 died. "=============================The problem is so many people refuse to pay attention to history. Vaccinations were not invented out of thin air as a way to make money, people were looking for cures to diseases which caused the average lifespan for humans in ages past to be much shorter. One of the earliest stories we usually hear of is how in the late 1700's some people had discovered that people infected with cow pox (namely milk maids) developed an immunity to future cow pox infections as well as smallpox which was much deadlier. There are many more diseases that used to be debilitating if not fatal. On my father's side: My father and grandmother had polio. I do think that I may have had a great aunt die not from a disease but because the doctor had forgotten that the girl had already been given the medication that day. So that was due to was human error. On my mothers' side, my grandmother's sister died of TB. Likewise, my grandmother told me of all the pansies that her mother used to see on school desks in Chicago because it was very common for children to never make it through grade school. Thus they would place pansies on the desk of a child since it is the flower representing children.Sure better sanitation played a role in our extended live spans, but it would be a joke to deny that a good chunk of our good health is due to vaccinations that help prevent disease as well as medications hat fight disease upon onset. (Also keep in mind that part of the problem with polio was that children were kept "too clean' so that they didn't get some of the diseases which if you wait until later cause a harmless childhood disease to become the crippling disease that we know about. Keep in mind that one of our very own presidents was crippled with polio, FDR. (continued)

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KansasPerson 5 years, 5 months ago

gr said:" 'he is not expected to make a full recovery, 'versus being sick for a few days at some percent chance that no one has listed being any different from not getting vaccinated.Hmmm:.. choices, choices."Please help me out! Most of the quotes in your post seem to be from prior posts, but this one (about the full recovery) I can't find anywhere. I can't figure out what you're referring to. Also I can't understand the statement after the quote. He was a lot worse off than "being sick for a few days" if you're referring to the man in the article. Please explain?

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gr 5 years, 5 months ago

"I don't think he was blaming anyone."I think he was according to the way he said it."80% of those who have received the flu shot do not get the flu when exposed."If you were answering my question of, how is the effectiveness determined, I fail to see how that answers it. Perhaps you were attempting to answer some other question of, what does 80% effectiveness mean. In which case, you answered partially. What about those who did not get the vaccine? How many of them would get sick? If 100%, then it may mean something. But, that's not true. How many do get sick who haven't been vaccinated - 20%? If so, the flu vaccine would be 100% ineffective. Now do you see that your answer does not address the question?" what is the big deal?"Sigh.... Check out the VAERS database and decide if the risk is worth "what is the big deal?".http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.htmlWhile the following doesn't list the ingredients to the flu vaccine, check out some of the others. If you think you are a vegetarian, better not get the Chicken Pox vaccine. Some one else's lung cells, Guinea pig cells, Beef heart serum: http://www.knowvaccines.com/chickenpox.htmor how about monkeypox or who knows what risk by injecting monkey cells through the polio vaccine. Or just plain mercury and aluminum.none2, be sure to look at the adverse reactions there , too."Carcinogenic, mutagenic potential or fertility impairment, developmental malformation (animal reproduction studies), effects on pregnant woman, fetus, or transmission of toxins to human breast milk" And you ask, what is the big deal?!!!And I think paralysis as shown on CBC is another big deal. Funny, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a common denominator of vaccines on the above link."he is not expected to make a full recovery, "versus being sick for a few days at some percent chance that no one has listed being any different from not getting vaccinated.Hmmm..... choices, choices.

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Bunny_Hotcakes 5 years, 5 months ago

@volunteer I wondered the same thing. I'm not blaming him at all, but his case illustrates rather effectively how bad of an idea it is to work out when you're sick. Feeling run down? Give it a day before you try to work out again. Exercising with the flu can do permanent damage or even kill you. Exercise may have exacerbated his decline.

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Christine Anderson 5 years, 5 months ago

I can't describe how happy and relieved I am that Mr. Barnhardt recovered and is back at Prairie Park. He is so very kind to my young fellas there, and he has an excellent rapport with the kids! My youngest son in particular was rather worried about him last year.My personal story with the issue of flu shots proves Mr. Barnhardt's point. The year before last, both my boys got the shots, and had significantly fewer "sick days" due to upper respiratory infections. Last year, I forgot, and didn't get one myself, either. My sons had bouts of influenza, (as confirmed by nasal swab), and I myself had pnuemonia for the first time in my life. It wasn't fun.

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volunteer 5 years, 5 months ago

One wonders if Mr. Barnhart would have done better to go to bed after feeling awful in church rather than going for a jog.

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 5 months ago

Because I choose to exercise control over my own health I have hemorrhoids? Your ability to reason has been seriously compromised, tanaumaga. I think there's a vaccine you can get for that. Or at least a pill.

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tanaumaga 5 years, 5 months ago

i hope the temper tantrum bear gets the flu and more, and also uninformed, take care of your hemmorhoids

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, none2, just wow! Way to lump everyone into a single category.For the record, and not that it's any of your business, I have very good health insurance and pay very little for my portion of it. (Yes, I'm thankful for that.) My company also offers free flu shots. However, I have chosen to decline. I have a naturally high immune system, and frankly, don't want to see that compromised, which is one of the anecdotal side effects of the flu shot. I do care about my health, therefore I have made the conscious decision NOT to get the vaccination. Thanks for your concern, though.It seems that you may have some personal reason for wanting people to be immunized. Perhaps you work for one of the pharmaceutical companies which manufacture the vaccine?

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sarahsmilehawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember Mr. Barnhart from my Prairie Park days, and I'm glad he got better.But I still won't be getting a flu shot. I've never had one, and I've never had the flu. I don't know... I just don't trust them.

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none2 5 years, 5 months ago

KansasPerson (Anonymous) says:webmocker's right - during the flu of 1918, it was mostly the healthy young adults who died. Having a good immune system actually worked against you in that case.===================================I remember my grandmother telling me of several young people she knew that got very sick and some died. What makes no sense to me is that now-a-days we have a vaccination that works on the 3 strains that they ANTICIPATE may be the strains that hit the US for the current flu season, and people are arguing whether it is worth getting it or not. Sure you may not get it, sure you may be in the right group not to get it, sure the strain you get may not be one in the vaccination. So what? If it lowers your odds of getting sick, or infecting others, or of having to take more days off, what is the big deal? If you are allergic to eggs or have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. That is one thing, but most people do NOT fall into those categories... The following comes from the cdc (http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/about/qa/flushot.htm)"With the flu shot, when the "match" between vaccine and circulating strains is close, the vaccine prevents influenza in about 70%-90% of healthy persons younger than age 65 years. Among elderly persons living outside chronic-care facilities (such as nursing homes) and those persons with long-term (chronic) medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), the flu shot is 30%-70% effective in preventing hospitalization for pneumonia and influenza. Among elderly nursing home residents, the flu shot is most effective in preventing severe illness, secondary complications, and deaths related to the flu. In this population, the shot can be 50%-60% effective in preventing hospitalization or pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death from the flu."We talk about problems with our health care system, and here is something you can do to help yourself and others and some people still don't want to do anything. I would think anybody that cares about their own health as well as the health of those around them, such a person would want to get the vaccination.

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Nikki May 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm glad Mr. Barnhart is back. Both my prairie park kids are too. When he's gone now even for a day, they are looking for him.

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grammaddy 5 years, 5 months ago

Welcome back Mr. Barnhart!! I was so glad to see you back out directing traffic in the school parking lot. No telling how many lives you save out there everyday after school.You were in my prayers during your ordeal, and I am so glad they were answered. Again, WELCOME BACK!!

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 5 months ago

Put me solidly in the "no flu shot" category. I've never gotten a flu shot and don't get the flu. I won't say I'll never get a shot, but for now, I see no reason.

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kansasrose 5 years, 5 months ago

Good lord! What an ordeal for Mr. Barnhart! What a horrible loss this would have been for Lawrence! He was a wonderful counselor when my son was a little guy going to Prairie Park. Now my son is in college. I'm scheduling my flu shots for myself, daughter and father. I'm so glad you are ok, Mr. Barnhart!

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KansasPerson 5 years, 5 months ago

webmocker's right -- during the flu of 1918, it was mostly the healthy young adults who died. Having a good immune system actually worked against you in that case.

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webmocker 5 years, 5 months ago

"95% of the population does not need a flu shot. The very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems need them. The rest need to just take vitamins, drink plenty of fluids, and be willing to sweat it out."Generally true, unless the Spanish flu comes back for a visit: From Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu...Among the conclusions of this research is that the virus kills via a cytokine storm, which explains its unusually severe nature and the unusual age profile of its victims (the virus caused an overreaction of the body's immune system-the strong immune systems of young adults ravaged the body, while the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults caused fewer deaths).Yours in fear mongering. :-)

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coolmom 5 years, 5 months ago

my 16 year old son got the flu and then pnumonia. he spent 22 days in intensive care, his kidneys failed and he was intubated and had chest tubes in his lungs. he had recieved a flu shot and that fact may have helped to save his life according to doctors at the hospital. he says when he was so out of it and in and out fighting the tube he saw an winged being outside his window. when he told me that later the hair rose on the back of my neck. he has down syndrome and while very high functioning he couldnt have made that up. now he gets every shot known to man as do we all.

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appleaday 5 years, 5 months ago

And those of you who choose not to get the flu shot please stay home when you develop an upper respiratory illness which may be influenza (you won't know unless you're tested) so that someone's 6 month old infant doesn't get really ill. Some grandma's can't get the vaccine because of other conditions. And flu vaccines are cheap.

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redmoonrising 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't think he was blaming anyone. Typhoid Mary was what was known as a "healthy carrier" of typhoid. She caused typhoid outbreaks without even being aware of it or becoming ill herself. Instead of criticizing Mr. Barnhart for a comment meaning he caught it from who knows where, why not be happy for the fact that he recovered? I forgot to get my shot one year. I didn't get influenza but I could have. Last year I had my shot and still had influenza, a mild case. I don't know where I got it, so I could jokingly say I got it from Typhoid Mary. Congratulations Mr. Barnhart on your recovery. I'm sure there are still things that are hard for you but you haven't given up and you impact a lot of lives in a positive way.

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Ragingbear 5 years, 5 months ago

~~Barnhart, 57, was battling for his life against influenza A~~Strange, according to the paragraph before that, "He'd contracted staph, strep throat and pneumonia."Staph is something you get at hospitals (most of the time). Strep throat and pneumonia are rampant at hospitals as well. Most likely, this guy got sick and went to the hospital, where he then got an infection that nearly killed him. It was the opportunistic diseases that got him with a weakened immune system. If he had gone when the earliest stages of these diseases hit, he would have been fine. That is assuming that he didn't get the infections from the hospital itself.95% of the population does not need a flu shot. The very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems need them. The rest need to just take vitamins, drink plenty of fluids, and be willing to sweat it out. This is pretty much another "panic article" trying to get people to blow money on something they do not need. Get Great Grandma a flu shot. Get your 2 year old a flu shot. Everyone else doesn't need one.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 5 months ago

My three kids went through Prairie Park, and were all helped at one point by Mr. Barnhart, and adore him to this day. We were all very anxious for him when we found out he was sick, but are so thrilled he is recovering so well. What a great person he is!I wonder how much his physical condition prior to getting ill contributed to his recovery?

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appleaday 5 years, 5 months ago

80% of those who have received the flu shot do not get the flu when exposed.Influenza can be deadly, especially for the very young and the elderly or anyone else already debilitated. The reason healthy people are encouraged to get the vaccine is so that the incidence of flu is decreased and those too young or too debilitated to get the vaccine are less likely to be exposed.

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gr 5 years, 5 months ago

""They were Typhoid Mary, basically," said Barnhart, who didn't get a flu shot last year."So would Barnhart be called "Typhoid Larry"?He seems upset that he caught it from someone. It wouldn't be a flu if no one had it. If he really believes in flu shots, why didn't he have one instead of blaming someone for giving the flu to him. If he had got a flu shot, yet still got the flu, what would his reaction be?A question I have yet to see answered is, How is the effectiveness of a flu vaccine determined?I mean, I see things like 80% effective. Is it determined with humans? And how is it determined? How would one set up an experiment to determine that?

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jreiling 5 years, 5 months ago

Prairie Park would never be the same without Mr. Barnhart! The children there are the reason he is here and that he survived. He has touched so many lives. Welcome back Mr. Barnhart!

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dagger 5 years, 5 months ago

We are so glad your back and doing well. My kids, from 5th grade at prairie park to south 9th grade to LHS senior love you and prayed for you. You have impacted their lives and my senior wouldnt have made it without you. God does have you here for a reason.

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itsme 5 years, 5 months ago

Well I hope he didnt spend time at "SELECT SPECIALITY HOSPITAL" located in Saint Francis's building in Topeka. Those people dont care about patients, won't even answer the bedside buzzer requests of patients (they will turn off the alarm from their console so they dont have to hear it), Claudia is the worst, rude, mean, a know it all, doesn't care about patients, obviously hates her job and the people. if you want to ensure your family memeber is going to DIE, check them into Select Specialty. They will do anything they can to DENY medical service if THEY have decided you should die. Isn't that called MURDER?

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