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15-year-old West Fargo boy with H1N1 leaving MeritCare Children's Hospital

FARGO - A 15-year-old West Fargo boy who has been in critical condition battling H1N1 flu since Oct. 19 has recovered enough to leave the pediatric intensive care unit at MeritCare Children's Hospital.

Keith Worthington has been transferred to Triumph Hospital, a long-term rehabilitation facility in Fargo, according to a news release from MeritCare.

His doctors are hopeful he'll eventually make a full recovery. He will continue to need occupational, physical and speech therapy, and it's expected he'll remain at Triumph for possibly two more months, the release stated.

He went to the emergency room Oct. 19 with flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with H1N1 virus, compounded by pneumonia and a bacterial infection. His lungs filled with fluids and suffered damage. A few days before Thanksgiving, his heart stopped beating for three minutes.

"I can't believe he's leaving. It is amazing how far he's come," his mother, Christina Quintana, said in the news release. "It's such a blessing after the rollercoaster ride he's been on. He's ready to get back to being a kid, and I want to be right by his side the whole time. I continue to urge every parent, no matter how old your child is, to tell them to get a flu shot. It's not too late."