Flu Kills Sacramento TV Sales Executive

  Nancy Pinnella

Nancy Pinnella

There is no doubt that the strain of the flu that is going around this year is very nasty.

Now, we see just how dangerous it is. KXTV Account Executive Nancy Pinnella left work on January 21st because she wasn't feeling well.

The Sacremento Bee says that on Jan. 22, she went to a doctor, hardly able to speak or breathe.

By 6 p.m. that day, she was in intensive care at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento. Her kidneys were failing, her lung capacity severely reduced. Doctors sedated her, induced paralysis and put her on a ventilator and dialysis. Then, as quick as that night, doctors told her family she was in very, very bad shape.

The H1N1 influenza was winning the battle.

On Friday, a bright spot: her kidneys and vital signs got better. Then, between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday, Pinnella suffered three severe strokes in three different parts of her brain. On Sunday, the family said goodbye and took the 46-year-old advertising executive at KXTV News10 off life support.

“The doctors said the strokes were catastrophic, there was no coming back,” said John Pinnella, her brother, recalling the tragic series of events.

The day after Pinnella died, the family – including three brothers, mother and father – all went for flu shots.

Then they encouraged friends and supporters in the Bay Area, where Pinnella grew up and worked for most of her 20-year career, to go get vaccinated in her memory. Hundreds have done so, John Pinnella said. “It’s been very, very touching,” he said.

It would have been out of character for his athletic, healthy sister who once ran a marathon to get a flu shot, he said. “She was active and there wasn’t any sign of anything unhealthy,” Pinnella, 49, said. “She didn’t get the flu shot. It wasn’t uncommon of her.”

“None of us (siblings) had gotten the flu shot.The problem was, in our minds, we weren’t litttle kids and we weren’t 65 years old,” he said referring to groups thought to be most vulnerable to the flu. “And we were pretty healthy – and stubborn.”

If you haven't gotten a shot, now might be the time.