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Decorated soldier from Alabama dies of complications from H1N1-NOT- cold medicine did it

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  • Decorated soldier from Alabama dies of complications from H1N1-NOT- cold medicine did it


    Decorated soldier from Alabama dies of complications from H1N1
    Posted: Dec 14, 2009 8:23 PM EST Updated: Dec 14, 2009 8:24 PM EST

    BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - An Alabama soldier honored for his heroics in battle has died. He passed from complications of H1N1 virus. Thirty-three year-old Seargant Jason Stegall of Trussville died Sunday night at the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C.

    Sgt. Stegall was twice awarded the Purple Heart for his actions during firefights in Iraq and is currently under consideration for the Bronze Star Medal for helping destroy 2 truck bombs before they could harm his base. He was shot twice and involved in 2 other explosions.

    So it is especially tragic for his wife, son, and 2 stepsons tonight that this hero fell victim to the H1N1 virus.

    Family members and friends tell FOX6 News that Sgt. Stegall returned from Iraq and was stationed in El Paso, TX. There about 2 weeks ago, he became ill. Stegall went to the doctor last Monday breathing problems. Doctors discovered his liver was failing and flew him to a medical hospital in Washington, D.C.

    Stegall's family and friends rushed to his side late last week, but Sgt. Stegall never regained consciousness and was taken off of life support Sunday night.

    "Jason has always been a leader, he's always been someone to go ahead and do it, I've followed him 100 times," said Wayne Stewart, a childhood friend of Sgt. Stegall's.

    Stewart adds, "When he went to the Army we knew he was going to succeed, we knew he was going to be taking care of his friends there just like he would us. As we grow up our parents worry about us just going out and doing what we do around town. And then for a mother and father to know they're son's going overseas, they do worry about him. His friends worry about him, and he was strong, he fought through it, nothing seemed like it could hurt him, and then...I don't what else to say about that man."

    The arrangements for Sgt. Stegall's funeral are still pending until an autopsy is complete. Sgt. Stegall's family plans to bury him at the Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in the veteran's ring.

    A fund has been set up at Regions Bank in the name of Jason Stegall if you'd like to help the Stegall family.

  • #2
    Re: Decorated soldier from Alabama dies of complications from H1N1-NOT- cold medicine did it


    Cold remedies killed Fort Bliss soldier
    By Chris Roberts / El Paso Times
    Posted: 12/19/2009 12:00:00 AM MST

    Stegall (Times file photo)

    EL PASO -- A decorated Fort Bliss soldier who survived two snipers' bullets apparently died of acetaminophen poisoning earlier this week in a Washington, D.C., hospital, his parents said Friday.

    Sgt. Jason Stegall, 31, of Birmingham, Ala., was working on the post's training ranges when he came down with a persistent cold, said the soldier's mother, Tina Stegall. In a telephone interview from the family home in Birmingham, she said her son was taking NyQuil and other cold remedies to treat a fever and other aches and pains.

    Doctors told the family the acetaminophen in those medicines shut down her son's liver, she said.

    The soldier was hospitalized at Beaumont Army Medical Center. He died Monday at Georgetown University Hospital.

    "It's tragic he went through all that (in Iraq) and then it comes to this," said James Stegall, the soldier's father. A preliminary test indicated that his son might have had the swine-flu virus, but that had not been verified, the elder Stegall said.

    Accidental acetaminophen poisoning is not common, said Dr. Omar Mendoza, chief of emergency medicine at Sierra Providence East Medical Center. However, it takes only 20 extra-strength Tylenol tablets to put a 150-pound person in the toxic range, he said. Those who die generally have livers weakened from prescription medicine, alcohol or disease, he said.

    Acetaminophen is "in a lot of cold and flu remedies," Mendoza said. "It's pretty easy to get a bunch of Tylenol in your system."

    As unlikely as the soldier's death was, his survival in Iraq was miraculous.

    In 2007, Stegall was serving in Iskandariyah, 25 miles south of Baghdad.

    While patrolling, a sniper's bullet struck just under his heart, a "kill shot," his mother said.

    Stegall's body armor prevented serious injury, but the impact caused severe bruising, she said. Despite the pain, Stegall led his men away from an overwhelming ambush into a trench that provided cover for their return to base, according to an account written by the unit.

    "All I could think about was to make sure that my guys were OK," Stegall told the interviewer.

    Weeks later, Stegall was with a squad setting up a security perimeter around a home where insurgents were thought to be operating. A bullet pierced the back of his helmet and blasted through the front, grazing his head in the process, according to the account.

    For those wounds, Stegall received two Purple Hearts.

    For fending off two suicide truck bombers, Stegall received a Bronze Star with "V" Device.

    Stegall was on guard duty when he noticed a truck entering the base was not following the flow of traffic. He fired a warning shot, according to the account. The truck continued on its path and he fired into the cab, causing the driver to lose control. The truck exploded, knocking Stegall unconscious.

    The explosion triggered an attack that included a second truck bomb and small-arms fire.

    Stegall regained his senses and began firing at insurgents attacking on the ground. The assault failed, and Stegall's actions are credited with saving the lives of fellow soldiers.

    "If they had just said, 'Thank you,' and went on, it would have been OK with that child," Tina Stegall said.

    Stegall had long wanted to join the Army, but he waited until he was 25 because his mother was opposed.

    She also didn't want him picking up hitchhikers. But the younger Stegall often helped stranded travelers. During a leave from the Army, he picked up a stranger walking along a road. He learned the man's car had broken down on the way to visit his daughter at a local college.

    "He went to (the college) and picked up the man's daughter and carried them both home," James Stegall said. "He didn't have to know you to help you."

    The elder Stegall said his son sought challenges from an early age.

    "There was nothing he wouldn't try," the father said. "He was jumping off bridges into lakes."

    When he joined an Army paratrooper unit, he jumped out of planes.

    Before his death, the soldier talked about re-enlisting, James Stegall said. "That's how much he loved it, even after being shot and blown up,"

    Chris Roberts may be reached at; 546-6136.