Prince George’s County Teacher in ICU; Family awaits COVID-19 test results - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Prince George’s County Teacher in ICU; Family awaits COVID-19 test results

On the same day state officials ordered Maryland public schools closed four more weeks amid fear of spreading the coronavirus, a 39-year-old Prince George’s County high school teacher lays sedated in a hospital, hooked up to a ventilator, fighting for his life.

Jason Flanagan, a teacher at High Point High School and former freelance writer for the Baltimore Post-Examiner, was tested for COVID-19 six days ago, but his doctors and family members are still waiting for the results.

“I think of a difference a day makes,” his 35-year-old wife, Leslie Flanagan, said in a telephone interview. “I wished I had pushed him, I’m also thankful I didn’t wait that extra day.”

She said she was shocked at how abruptly his condition changed 10 days into the undetermined sickness. He was being treated at home, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines carried out by her husband’s primary care physician.

Jason Flanagan

“I didn’t know how serious it was because of the directive we were given to just stay in,” Leslie Flanagan said. “At this point, I think they need to improve [guidelines] from here on out.”

A spokesperson from the Prince George’s County School system said once Flanagan’s case is confirmed for coronavirus, a letter will be sent out to parents and others.

“Once we are informed by the health department that any member of the PGCPS family has tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately notify those who are a part of that school network,” county media relations director Gabrielle Brown stated in an email Wednesday. “That includes parents and other stakeholders.”

Flanagan’s mother, who lives in South Carolina, expressed concern over school and community exposure due to a lack of test results.

“He’s a teacher,” Diane Flanagan McNinch said. “The people in High Point High School in Beltsville will have to know. He also did the grocery shopping for the house. Gosh knows how many people he had contact with. The virus can stay on the handle of a shopping cart.”

Flanagan’s symptoms began 12 days ago on March 14, a day after public schools in Maryland held their last day of school on campuses following a directive from Gov. Larry J. Hogan, Jr., due to the coronavirus.

His wife said it began with what are now familiar symptoms of the deadly virus – fatigue, fever and a small cough.

Flanagan’s fever fluctuated between 99 and 102 daily and his cough worsened over the days, but he didn’t experience problems with his breathing until Day 10. During that time, he had interacted with his physician twice — once in a telemedicine call and once in person, his wife said.

Some days they both thought he was getting better. Last Thursday he didn’t even wake up with a temperature.

“We thought we were going to kick this,” Leslie Flanagan said.

But on Monday, four days later, things changed for the worst. Flanagan started having shortness of breath – a telltale sign of COVID-19.

“He had flu-like symptoms for a week, wild temperature swings and we just thought, since he was in constant touch with his doctor, who was doing everything he could do, including giving him antibiotics, he wasn’t that bad,” Leslie Flanagan recalled.  “It was only in the last couple of days he was having difficulty breathing, shortness of breath. He could still breathe, so we thought let’s keep an eye on it for a couple of days.”

It was the second day into his labored breathing that the couple decided to again contact a doctor. This time a chest x-ray was ordered.

The plan was to get the x-ray, wait a few hours for the results and then make a plan with the doctor.

“I figured they’d order some Prednisone, or something,” Leslie Flanagan said.

But by the time Flanagan got to the imaging facility, the technicians said his oxygen levels were too low to go back home. He needed to be admitted immediately to a hospital emergency room.

“It just became so severe so quickly,” Flanagan’s wife said. “I think that’s the really concerning part. I read the news and never thought it would touch our household. Jason has no underlying health conditions. He’s healthy.”

Now he is in a medically-induced coma, according to his mother, and he must stay on a ventilator for four days.

“In Charlotte, they’re doing the testing and turning around results in 24 to 48 hours,” said Flanagan McNinch, who’s self-quarantining for three weeks due to her own underlying heart and lung conditions. “Up there it’s six days. I don’t understand why so long.”

Flanagan McNinch said her son was taken by ambulance to Frederick Memorial Hospital where his condition is worsening. But she and Flanagan’s wife expect him to get worse before he gets better.

“He’s totally asleep, pain meds going in him and a machine is breathing for him,” she said. “Just the picture of that in my head, knowing I can’t see him, totally breaks my heart. When it hits so close to home, it’s devastating.”

As of Wednesday, Maryland health officials confirmed 423 cases of Coronavirus in the state and four deaths. Prince George’s County, where the state’s first COVID-19 death occurred, has 76 confirmed cases, the state’s second-highest number among counties and two of the deaths. The other deaths were in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties – all the recorded deaths involved people with underlying medical conditions.

The family doesn’t know if Flanagan is going to make it, but his wife has a message for the public.

“I’m not doing well, I’m losing it,” she said tearfully. “I’m not brave. I’m not courageous. He’s strong and healthy, but this horrible, horrible disease…it just tears people apart. It just tears families apart. I would rather be inconvenienced for months not to have just one day of this misery – my whole world, my husband, to suffer in this position.

“You have to take this seriously. Don’t shrug it off. Err on the side of caution. It’s important as a community we help each other and try to do our best to prevent the spread of it.”

 

Editor’s Note: For Update on Jason Flanagan’s status – please read Part 2.

 

Feature Photo: Jason and Leslie Flanagan (Facebook)


About the author

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian is a freelance journalist and award-winning investigative reporter with an eye for transparency and accountability in government and politics. Kazanjian's reporting has triggered state investigations in police corruption, as well as changes to state policy in campaign finance and regulatory reform. During her 10-year freelance journey, she has also worked for cable television production companies like the Discovery Channel and Reelz providing true crime timelines for television series scripts. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY

44 Comments

  1. Prayer Warrior says:

    Dear God,

    We are all crying out to you asking for your mercy on this man. I pray that you turn this around and continues to bless his families and all those who may have be in contact with him. We know you are a healer and a waymaker. We love you God and expect miracles. We thanks God for all that you will do for this family. we ask that you be the breath in his body and the strength that his family needs during this time.

    Amen

    Reply
  2. Stephen Reicharz says:

    You don’t know me but Your husband will be in my prayers every night until he gets better .

    Reply
  3. Pat Marshall says:

    Prayers and much love God Bless …..The Marshall family

    .

    Reply
  4. L. Watkis says:

    Prayers for you Leslie. I am so worried for you right now. Be blessed in His presence. God is fairhful.

    Reply
  5. Joyce harley says:

    To. Jason Flanagan and family.,,My 🙏🙏 are with you and your family… just know that God has you in his mighty hands . He said he will never leave you nor forsake you.I say to the family trust and believe he is in the best of care all anointed hand 🖐 has been placed on him.so I encourage all of you to stay strong as possible..Be Blessed🙏

    Reply
  6. HK says:

    I pray in Jesus’ name for full and quick healing for Mr. Jason Flanagan with no lasting effects from this illness.

    Reply
  7. Dianne says:

    Hope you find comfort in the love and prayers surrounding you and Jason.❤️🙏🏻

    Reply
  8. Eric says:

    Sending prayers for a strong recovery. I knew Jason as a reporter at the Diamondback when he was at UMD. Jason always had a great attitude, always was a dedicated reporter, a professional even at a young age, with wit and smarts. Thinking of you and your family.

    Reply
  9. Nicole Deskins Bonham says:

    My heartfelt prayers for Jason and his family. He’s a great person and an extraordinary teacher!
    He will get through this. Praying for his speedy recovery.👐

    Reply
  10. Warren says:

    Prayers for Jason you and your family!

    Reply
  11. Dios es poderoso, el hara el milagro en el nombre de Jesus, todo lo puedo en cristo que me fortalece. Amen

    Reply
  12. Donna says:

    I will be praying for you and your family during this time. I pray that God’s peace and strength will be your portion.

    Reply
  13. Devorah Danielson says:

    Let our prayers go out to the CREATOR and the combined energy to the universe that Jason will return to your family completely healed. He is resting right now to recover, and his body is fighting. He sounds like an awesome person.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous says:

    Father God, we ask for your healing power to flow this Jason’s body body right now. Bring comfort and peace to his wife, mother, and family even now God. We thank you in advance, believing that it’s already done, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
    God Bless You!

    Reply
  15. Robin Tuckson says:

    PRAYING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing and hoping people heed your words.Prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
  17. vicki tchanque says:

    Absolutely wonderful young man and former colleague at Oxon Hill High School. I pray God’s healing and a full recovery for you. This is hitting close to home! I also pray for your wife that peace will abide and rest on her during this very difficult time.

    Reply
  18. Karen Flanagan says:

    Our family appreciates all the Love and Prayers for Jason. He’s a strong, loving man and great husband, son and nephew.

    Reply
  19. Marie Riggs says:

    My sincere prayers for Jason
    and his family.Keep your faith family and God will carry him through.

    Reply
  20. Jennifer Newman says:

    My deepest prayers goes out to this beautiful family. This is so devastating and heart breaking!This is my BF family ! Keeping you all in my prayers ! May he be healed and come home soon!

    Reply
  21. Anonymous says:

    God’s healing power is upon you. He will make you strong and healthy in Jesus name touch Jason now.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous says:

    Praying for Jason’s speedy recovery!

    Reply
  23. Pettigrew says:

    Prayers up for our dear friend and his family!🙏🏾

    Reply
  24. Jasper Nuh says:

    I pray God almighty healer, to heal my colleague Jason and bring him back whole again to his family, and to us his education family. Mr Flanagan,in this hour of darkness,may the fire of the holy spirit of God our creator,destroy every inch of whatever virus or disease is in your body. May God restore every affected part of your body and bring you home healthy, to the joy of your family and all of us. Amen.

    Reply
  25. Tina L. Covington says:

    Praying for your recovery.

    Reply
  26. Chandra says:

    Praying for the Flanagan Family.

    Reply
  27. Maxine jackson says:

    May heart goes out to you and your family. Iasked god to forgive us of all our wrong doing and heal our land. There is nothing that’s goung to save us from this deadly virus but the lord. I also relieved that people need to stick together and fight the deadly virus. You can not be going out in the community and doing thing as normal and thinking it wont happen to you

    Reply
  28. Imari lyles says:

    As one of his former students this breaks my heart to see Mr.Flanagan in pain like this I hope he is okay!! I know he can fight this !

    Reply
  29. Allison R says:

    My prayers are with the Flanagan Family!

    Reply
  30. Doug Mangum says:

    Saddened to hear this about Jason. Heart felt sorrow and hope filled healing are my feelings as I send prayers for recovery. God grant us your divine grace

    Reply
  31. Jennifer says:

    Mr. Flanagan was an incredible English teacher and helped me a lot as a sophomore. There was never a dull moment in his class and I always arrived ready to learn something new. His wisdom and knowledge and love for the subject was inspiring for me and I was lucky enough to have a brilliant teacher like Mr. Flanagan. Seeing this really hurts and I do nothing but pray for my beloved teacher and his family; may God give him to strength to recover so that he may be safe and healthy once again. I, along with many other past students, wish nothing but for Mr. Flanagan to be safe and healthy and to recover from this terrible sickness.

    Reply
  32. Alisa says:

    I am so sad to hear this about my friend and former colleague. I will be praying for him and his family.

    Reply
  33. Janice F says:

    I am praying for Jason and that God restores him back to health and for you Leslie that God gives you strength and comfort at this time.

    Reply
  34. D. Barnes-Lyles says:

    It saddens me to hear this. I am sending prayers up for you and your wife. God bless you. #ClipperLove

    Reply
  35. Anonymous says:

    We are praying for you Jason and Leslie.

    Reply
  36. Baiyina W. says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through this horrible thing. I am praying for your family.. especially for the strength to manage. – former co-worker.

    Reply
  37. Blanche Mang says:

    Healing prayers and Love sent

    Reply
  38. Cecille Greenfield says:

    Sending prayers your way! Oxon Hill HS friend.

    Reply
  39. Anonymous says:

    My prayer is that Jason fully recovery’s from what’s ailing him. I trust God will take care of him and guide him back to good health. I pray that his wife and mom will seek strength in the Father and continue to pray to Him for help.

    Reply
  40. Michelle says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your husband,. May God protect you and your family

    Reply
  41. Joe K says:

    Jason is an amazing guy and will pull through this. Stay strong.

    Reply
  42. Kimberly Cutler says:

    I’m praying for Jason. I’m also praying for your strength.

    Reply
  43. Vernell Murray says:

    My prayer is going to the Lord Jesus to hold onto your husband’s hands…Lord Jesus lay your healing hands upon this young man…

    Reply
  44. Carl Brannock says:

    Ms Flanagan this is officer Carl sending up prayers for Jason, yourself and the family and school staff. We are all fighting for him with you…

    Reply

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