Family pleads for people to listen to doctors after mother of five dies from flu complications

BAKERSFIELD, CA (WCMH) — As flu season intensifies across the country, a California family is pleading for people to listen to doctors after a woman died after getting the flu.

Public health officials in Bakersfield, California have confirmed Michelle Maroney-Placencia, a 39-year-old mother of five, has died from complications from the flu.

“It is a tragedy and it is a reminder of how devastating and serious this disease or this illness can be,” said Michelle Corson with the Kern County Public Health Department.

KGET reports Maroney-Placencia began feeling ill last Sunday. Her husband, Gary Placencia, said she went to an urgent care Tuesday night but woke up feeling even worse Wednesday morning.

“She woke me up at 2 o’clock in the morning complaining of shortness of breath, just aches and pains and wanted me to get her in the bathtub,” Placencia said. Maroney-Placencia couldn’t stay in the tub for long, and got up and went to the couch where she fell asleep for a few hours.

“She kept on telling me she was sick and she was going to die and she felt bad,” Placencia told KGET. He called 911 and medics transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

“The doctor came in and said her heart rate was pretty much next to nothing, that she was dying and she wasn’t going to make it,” Placencia said. “I demanded I go to see her.  I didn’t want her to die by herself.”

Her family says she was otherwise healthy, and they hope the community will listen to health officials after this tragedy.

“If you’ve got it, stay home with it. Listen to what the doctors and the CDC people are telling you,” said Maroney-Placencia’s father, Wes Maroney. “If you don’t, you’re going to wind up with us. I lost my daughter. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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