Local man hospitalized in Portland from flu, using machine to breathe

PORTLAND, Ore. — A local man is in a Portland hospital using a machine to breathe. Eric Valencia went to the hospital on Christmas with the flu but was brought to Portland as his condition worsened.

Valencia’s family says the flu came on strong for the 32-year-old man, he’s been in critical care at Portland Providence Medical Center ever since. His family spoke out today about what he’s going through. He was flown to Providence Portland on Christmas, after going to a hospital here in Medford.

He’s been struggling to survive in the critical care unit ever since using a lung bypass machine. His family says because of his condition he can’t speak, but they are hopeful things will improve.

“I’m very thankful because when we came in here it was like life or death and right now we got hope,” Eric Valencia’s Mother, Rita Aucone said.

Doctors are treating him with the help of ECMO technology. They say if a patient needs this kind of treatment, there is little to no function of the lungs left. Doctors say the machine will allow his lungs to recover and regain function.

Valencia’s family is hoping his story will be a cautionary tale to get your flu shot. Jackson County health officials say the flu is down locally but was a concern before the holidays. Doctors say the best way to avoid the flu is to wash your hands and get a flu shot.

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