Swine flu kills toddler, youngest confirmed Hawaii case

Swine flu kills toddler, youngest confirmed Hawaii case
Joshua's Parents: Max & Erica Neves
Joshua's Parents: Max & Erica Neves
Dr. Sarah Park
Dr. Sarah Park

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -An Oahu couple who lost their son to swine flu, speaks out for the first time.

The vicious virus took the little boy's life, just a day after he woke up with what seemed like a normal fever.

Joshua Neves was only three-years-old. The State Department of Health (DOH) says he's the youngest to die from swine flu in Hawaii.

It was the kind of morning every parent has gone through. Neves, a healthy, Spiderman-loving toddler of Kaimuki woke up with a 101-degree fever, but was strong enough to eat at the table.

"I said, 'I'm glad you ate something sweetheart because I know you're not feeling well'. And he said, 'I'm fine Momma'," said his mom, Erica Neves.

But those would be Neves's last words.

His mother says he took a nap.

Then she noticed he looked pale.

She tried to wake him, but couldn't.

By lunchtime, Neves was rushed to the emergency room.

After a little more than 24 hours in intensive care, he passed away.

"'Daddy loves you with all his heart, Daddy loves you with all his soul and you're the most precious boy in the whole wide world'. Every single day I would tell him that. He's in heaven but I'm still his dad and I love him more today than ever," said Max Neves, Joshua's father.

"This is the one I dread hearing about and I dread hearing potentially about more cases," said Dr. Sarah Park, DOH State Epidemiologist.

Unfortunately, more are expected.

Hawaii is one of two states where H1N1 cases have yet to peak.

The problem is, as of November 25th, DOH has distributed more than 97,400 doses to providers.

But only 36,255 doses have been administered.

"I hope that's just underreporting and that people aren't sitting on their doses. I can tell you my staff and I right now are perplexed because we've sent out a lot doses to pediatricians that can fulfill that age group," said Dr. Park.

That's why the Neves family is urging parents to get their kids vaccinated. They wish they had that chance.

"If it could just save one person's life, if one parent could play on a Wednesday with their kid again, because I can't. It'd be worth it to go through that pain," said Max Neves.

Neves died in June, before the vaccine was available. His parents say their faith is what keeps them going.

"We're just skin and bones. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. We are skin and bones without God in our life," said Max Neves.