The family of Foster City resident Jason Barbeau is shocked and struggling to make sense of what happened after the healthy 44-year-old died Thursday after battling the flu.
According to sister Arsenia Molina, Barbeau first experienced flu symptoms, including aching and fever, on Christmas Day. Four days later, Barbeau saw a doctor, who diagnosed him with pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics. On Jan. 2, Barbeau’s symptoms worsened and he returned to the emergency room. He was in bed talking with his wife that night when he started coughing uncontrollably, turned blue and couldn’t breathe. His lungs had completely collapsed, she said.
Doctors put Barbeau into a medically induced coma along with a ventilator and dialysis machine, before he was transferred Jan. 5 to California Pacific Medical Center intensive care unit, which specializes in ECMO, a form of heart and lung bypass used when all other forms of conventional life support fail. Barbeau remained on life support for more than three weeks, but the damage to his lungs was too much from which to recover. He also experienced kidney failure and was fully paralyzed, she said.
According to Molina, Barbeau had no underlying illnesses.
“The last time he was at all sick was maybe a year ago,” she said.
Molina, who works in the medical field, said doctors were hopeful Jason would make some kind of recovery because of his age. No one thought he would never regain consciousness.
Barbeau, who worked in information technology, lived in Foster City with his wife of eight years, Klara Barbeau, and their two dogs, Bentley and Aston, and two cats, Whisper and Fungus. A statement from the family described Barbeau as a “gentle man who loved fiercely, always lending himself to all in need.”
Barbeau was born Aug. 29, 1973, and raised in San Mateo. He is the second youngest of five siblings, Chuck Jr, Rena, Bridget, Arsenia and Mayfield. He is preceded by death by his birth mother Vicky Dedrick and foster parents, Chuck Sr. and Betty Barbeau.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date to be determined.
A friend of the family setup a GoFundMe page to help cover medical bills, life expenses and funeral costs. According to the page, medical expenses alone are nearing a few million dollars. As of now, 100 people have donated a total of $12,199 to the campaign, which has a goal of $50,000.
“After Jason’s death, my primary focus is to bring awareness to what happened,” said Molina. “I want people to advocate for their health.”
Go to gofundme.com/jason-barbeaus-medical-expenses for more information on how to donate.
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