Flu victim's widow encourages getting flu shot - CBS 5 - KPHO

Flu victim's widow encourages getting flu shot

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The flu continues to hit younger people, and doctors say this year's strain of the H1N1 virus makes people get sicker, faster.

That's exactly what happened to Richard Schuster, who died from the H1N1 virus. His wife, Linda Schuster said her husband did not get a flu shot, and she believes his story might have turned out differently if he had.

"He loved God, he loved his family, he loved his country and he loved his job," said Linda Schuster.

She said that's how her husband would want to be remembered. The 64-year-old Vietnam veteran worked as an engineer. 

He leaves behind his wife, four children, and four grandchildren.

"We had a lot of plans and now they're not going to happen, and there were things that he wanted to do with his kids and grandchildren and he'll never get to do them," said Linda Schuster.

Richard Schuster died Friday from the H1N1 virus. Before he got sick, he was generally in good health. He spent 40 days in the hospital, 34 of those, in a coma on life support.

"His body was not able to recover. It killed his lungs. It just destroyed him," said Linda Schuster.

Richard Schuster is among the group hardest hit by the flu, otherwise healthy people in their 20s through 60s. Even though the numbers are down, the Centers for Disease Control said the flu is still widespread in Arizona.

Linda Schuster learned that the hard way, and she said she hopes others will learn from her husband's experience.

"Everybody should get the flu shot unless they absolutely know that the flu shot is what's going to hurt them," said Linda Schuster.

Linda Schuster realizes not everyone who catches the flu will end up as ill as her husband, but she said it's not worth the risk.

"Not every virus is covered by the flu shot, only the most deadly ones. But those are the ones you don't want to get," said Linda Schuster.

A memorial service for Richard Schuster has tentatively been set for March 18, at the Messenger Funeral Home in Fountain Hills.

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