Woman killed by swine flu

A DEVOTED carer has told how he feels "lost" after his beloved partner died after contracting swine flu.

Sharon Murdoch was admitted to the University Hospital of Hartlepool on Christmas Day after complaining of a chesty cough.

But the 46-year-old, who had devoted her life to volunteering for charities including cerebral palsy causes and Shopmobility, lost her battle with the H1N1 flu virus on January 4.

It came as a huge shock to Sharon's partner of 28 years, Steven Cook, 54, who she lived with in the town's Catcote Road.

Steven was Sharon's carer as she suffered from asthma and fibromyalgia, a musculoskeletal disorder that causes pain and discomfort.

The fibromyalgia was discovered following a zip-wire accident at an outdoor centre 20 years ago and Sharon spent half of her time in a wheelchair.

Battling Sharon had fought off double pneumonia four years ago.

Steven said: "When the doctors said they suspected it might be swine flu, I wasn't worried because she was always a fighter.

"She came through the double pneumonia before."

But Steven's optimism was short-lived when Sharon's condition deteriorated, and medics said there was nothing more they could do.

Doctors reduced her treatment, but she lost her fight for life minutes later.

Steven said: "I feel lost.

"She was my life.

"Sharon was happy-go-lucky and would do anything for anybody.

"It is a big part of our lives missing."

Steven said Sharon had a cold and chesty cough two days before Christmas Day but she was given anti-biotics and was well enough to be baking on Christmas Eve for a Boxing Day party.

But on Christmas morning, Sharon could hardly breath and paramedics were called.

She was taken to hospital and x-rays were taken.

Results showed the former Rossmere and Henry Smith School pupil had pneumonia and medics told Steven as Sharon's temperature was high, she could have swine flu.

Her condition got worse over the following days and she was transferred to the hospital's intensive therapy unit, where she was given oxygen.

Swine flu was confirmed on January 1 and initially, she was responding well to treatment.

But her condition deteriorated and on January 4, doctors told Steven there was nothing more they could do and they were reducing treatment.

Just minutes after her medication was decreased, Sharon passed away, with Steven by her side.

Steven said: "It's devastating.

"She was doing all right the night before."

Despite being a wheelchair user, Sharon had participated in many activities, including sailing on Scaling Dam, near Whitby.

Steven's aunt, Ann Hart, 68, from Tweed Walk, said: "Sharon is going to be missed by everybody."

Sharon's friend Sandra Allison, 39, of Jones Road, said Sharon had doted on Sandra's daughter and two nephews and added: "There will never be another like her."

Sharon's funeral took place at Stranton Crematorium on Friday.