A UNM student and on-campus resident has died from what appears to be the H1N1 virus.

Raymond Plotkin, an 18-year-old freshman who lived in the Redondo Village Apartments, died Wednesday night at University Hospital, according to an e-mail sent by Resident Life and Student Housing to all on-campus residents.

“Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH) sorrowfully wants to inform you that a resident of RedondoVillage has died,” the e-mail stated. “According to his parents, the student was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms and died Wednesday evening, Nov. 11, 2009.”

University spokeswoman Karen Wentworth said the University could not comment on the cause of death, but she said a statement will be issued soon on behalf of the Engineering Department. Plotkin was an engineering major.

Marlene Ballejos, director of admissions for the School of Medicine, said in an e-mail to students in Plotkin’s Living Learning Community that another student in the LLC is hospitalized with the illness.

“Please feel free to contact me and/or residence life staff if you have concerns about your living conditions,” the e-mail stated. “Another LLC student has also been hospitalized for the same illness. Make sure and use all of the appropriate cleanliness and safety issues.”

Student Health and Counseling Director Beverly Kloeppel said the University has done everything in its power to prevent an H1N1 outbreak.

“Everything else that’s been possible for us to do I think we’ve been doing,” Kloeppel said.

Kloeppel said she was not aware of any underlying medical conditions that might have contributed to Plotkin’s death, and the Department of Health determines the relevance of any illness to cause of death.

The Dept. of Health told the Albuquerque Journal that an 18-year-old man with chronic health conditions had died of H1N1 virus but could not confirm the man was Plotnik.

H1N1 vaccines were slated to arrive on campus in October but are delayed. Kloeppel doubted an on-time delivery would have prevented Plotkin’s death.

“It would have had to have been quite a bit earlier,” she said. “That’s one of the tragedies of the whole thing from my perspective.”

Student Jeff Simms, a Redondo Resident who knew Plotkin, said Plotkin had other health issues.

“It’s really sad that it was his first year of college and he didn’t get
to finish it,” Simms said. “Overall he was just a very friendly guy.”
The Daily Lobo will update this story as more information becomes available._