7-year-old dies from the flu in Columbus

Burgess family sends a reminder to parents, and doctors urge kids to be vaccinated
Khalilah Burgess, 7, died from the flu, according to the family. (Source: WTVM)
Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 11:23 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2023 at 11:44 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A 7-year-old in Columbus is dead after suffering complications from the flu, and her parents say other parents should pay attention to any symptoms if their child is sick.

Anyanna and Brandon Burgess gith said their daughter Khalilah Burgess could light up any room with her smile and infectious spirit, but that light dimmed when Khalilah complained of not being able to breathe after she contracted the flu.

They fought back tears as they recalled the smile and personality of their daughter.

“Always energetic, a tomboy, a daddy’s girl, even if she were here now she would be bouncing off the wall,” said Anyanna.

Her mother said she knew something was wrong when she woke up with a fever Saturday, and Halloween night, things took a tragic turn.

“Her’s didn’t get worse until Tuesday, her birthday cause her birthday was on Halloween. So, she just turned 7,” Anyanna said.

Anyanna said little Khalilah had just gotten a bath and started complaining of not being able to breathe.

“You know she was saying like I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, and her little lips were starting to turn blue and her fingertips were starting to turn blue,” said Anyanna.

The mother said she didn’t think there was much paramedics could do.

“They got here really fast in under 4 minutes, but honestly... before they got here, I just knew she had already left,” she said.

Pediatrician Dr. Praveen Singh said it’s important to make sure children are vaccinated against the flu and other upper respiratory illnesses. Khalilah was not vaccinated.

“Apart from the normal things we should do which is washing hands, wearing masks as much as you can, we have the vaccinations which are highly effective which is the second step,” Singh said.

The Burgess family said parents should be CPR certified just in case something happens to your child.

“Take CPR classes, it is very important. You never know who and what anybody family member that needs that CPR,” said Brandon.

They also say although Khalilah only had seven years with them they are thankful and they believe her last words would have been:

“Thank you Dad for the time that we had, I appreciate you and I love you,” Brandon said.