I hear a lot of people say "oh, it's JUST asthma." Well, JUST asthma can kill you. It is rare, but every day in the United States, 11 people die from asthma attacks.
I was watching NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and he told about a New York Times correspondent that died of an asthma attack in Syria. Anthony Shadid was covering the unrest in Syria when he had an asthma attack and died at the age of 43.
Anthony Shadid had survived being shot and also being kidnapped while covering stories in other countries. But it was an asthma attack that killed him. I found an AP article on MSNBC, that interviewed Anthony's father. The father says Anthony had asthma all of his life, and had medication with him. (I don't know if that means he had an inhaler with him or that he had taken his maintenance medication that day.) But it appears that he was walking to the border, since traveling by car was too dangerous. He was walking behind horses, which he is allergic to. When another journalist asked him if he was okay, Anthony just collapsed. His breathing was very shallow, then it stopped all together. The story also report that a colleague tried to revive Anthony, but couldn't. When someone stops breathing, you have 4 minutes to try to save their life. In a war zone, it looks as thought they were too far away from any hospitals to get help.
To read the MSNBC AP story from Fort Meyers Florida, click here.
What a sad end to a talented man. Anthony can survive being shot, and kidnapped, but he didn't survive an asthma attack. So, what can I learn from this? I know what my asthma triggers are and I try to avoid them like the plague! I do have my medication handy at all times and I'm not afraid to use it. Sometimes I wonder if people wait too long to take their inhaler. I don't know what happened to Anthony. But I know that he left behind a wife and two children.
A brilliant life cut short.