Sopheak Paak told CBS Boston his 4-year-old daughter Puthiraksmey fell ill last week. On Tuesday — when her temperature reached 99 degrees and the young girl was reportedly coughing blood, WCVB reported — Paak took her to Lowell General Hospital, where he claimed doctors instructed Puthiraksmey to take Tylenol and sent the pair home.
But days later, her condition worsened. On Saturday, Paak decided to call an ambulance.
“I tried to call to 911 [for an] emergency,” Paak told WCVB. “[I told them], ‘I don’t know how to help her.'”
Puthiraksmey died later that day, he told the news station. State health officials later confirmed the death to CBS Boston as the third pediatric flu-related death in the state during the 2018-2019 flu season.
But Paak told WCVB that he is still awaiting the official autopsy results before concluding Puthiraksmey’s death was indeed flu-related. Paak expressed concerns the young girl could have contacted an illness before moving to the U.S. from Cambodia, recalling to WHDH that she had an allergic reaction to seafood about a week before she became ill.
Paak said his daughter enjoyed learning and going to school. He added that when his family immigrated to the U.S., they were hoping for a better life.
“We hope by coming to live here everything will be good,” he added.
In a statement to CBS Boston, a spokesperson for Lowell General Hospital called the girl’s death “tragic.”
“We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family over the tragic loss of their daughter,” the hospital said in a statement, declining to comment further due to privacy rules.
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