By Beth Germano


LOWELL (CBS) – A heartbroken Lowell father is searching for answers following the death of his four-year-old daughter from complications of the flu. Sopheak Paak is clinging to videos and photographs of little Puthiraksmey playing with her father as she always did, coming to the United States just four months ago. “She likes to learn, she wants to go to school every day,” said Paak.

Last Tuesday her father took her to Lowell General Hospital when she became ill. He says they were sent home with orders to take Tylenol, but Paak knew something was still wrong. “She’s tired and she sleeps,” he said.

Puthiraksmey died from complications from the flu (Family photo)

With blood coming from her nose and her condition suddenly worsening, Paak says he called an ambulance last Saturday, and that’s the last he saw of his daughter who died later that day leaving him confused about the care she received from doctors. “My daughter is sick, they don’t know it,” he said.

The state confirms it’s the third pediatric death from complications of the flu. A 12-year-old boy from Milford and a four-year-old girl from Framingham have also died this season.

Lowell public health officials say as tragic as these cases are, there’s been no uptick in flu cases this year. “We’ve seen a lot less than we did last year which was really high. It’s a third of the cases we saw last year,” said Kerran Vigrous, Director of Health and Human Services.

Sopheak Paak (WBZ-TV)

Sopheak Paak, who says he’s waiting for a final report, brought his family to the United States in search of a better life. “We hope by coming to live here everything will be good.”

Paak also claims paramedics wouldn’t let him ride to the hospital with his daughter, but the ambulance company tells WBZ-TV it is looking into the claim. Lowell General hospital said in a statement, “We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family over the tragic loss of their daughter. Patient privacy rules prohibit us from commenting any further at this time.”

Beth Germano

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