Young pastor Johnathan Martin dies of H1N1 complications

Tilly Dillehay Editor

January 8, 2014

Lafayette pastor and family man Johnathan Martin passed away last week after a three week fight with the H1N1 flu virus. Martin, who was only 36 and left behind a wife and two young children, had developed respiratory complications from the flu very soon after coming down with it around December 1.

His wife Andrea, a Physician Assistant at Carthage Family Practice, brought Martin in to the emergency room when he became very short of breath and had gotten so weak he couldn’t walk from one side of a room to the other. Martin was admitted to the hospital with very low oxygen levels, and later taken to Vanderbilt University when complications continued to worsen. He passed away at Vanderbilt on December 22.

Martin was native of Smith County, and Andrea, a former employee at the Macon County Times, is a native of Macon. Martin was 1995 graduate of Smith County High School. He worked for Dorman Auto Products as a forklift operator and was the pastor of Willette Christian Church.

A fund has been set up to help the family. Donations can be made to the “Andrea Martin Special Account” at Macon Bank and Trust.

Andrea told several news outlets that as a medical practitioner, she regrets the fact that Johnathan did not get the flu vaccine, and urges all who have not done so to get the shot.

Shelley Walker, with the TN Department of Health, said that there are no centralized statistics on flu cases or deaths. The only numbers that are reportable to the Dept. of Health are confirmed deaths by flu of pregnant women and children. But generally, she said, it is normal that a certain number of people die of the flu every year in Tennessee.

“That is why we recommend the flu vaccine,” said Walker. “We do know that flu is circulating throughout the state. The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu virus. It is not too late, and we urge everyone to get one. There’s still plenty of vaccine available; we’re not hearing any indication of shortages.”

In Macon County the flu shot is available (without appointment) at the following locations:

Fred’s Pharmacy on Scottsville Road - $24.50 without insurance

Rite Aid in Lafayette - $29.95 without insurance

Walgreens - $31.99 without insurance

Macon County Department of Health - $30.00 (or on sliding scale)

So far in the 2013-14 winter season, Fred’s has given out 400 flu shots, Rite Aid has given out 1,200, and Walgreens has given out 900.