Father-and-Son Latino Doctors Dies of COVID-19
COVID-19 had been particularly hard in one Florida family because it took not just one, but two of their loved ones who are father-and-son doctors.
Both doctors died due to COVID-19, just about one month apart from each other. The father, 89-year-old Dr. Jorge Vallejo, was a retired OB-GYN.
His son, Dr. Carlos Vallejo, was 57 years old, and he practiced internal medicine in Miami Lakes in Florida. Carlos was sent to the hospital for COVID-19 on June 27, the day his father died. He passed away on August 1.
"My dad was an incredible guy," said his son, Charles Vallejo Jr., 26, in an NBC News report. According to Charles Jr., Carlos cared deeply about his patients, and they "saw him like family."
Both father and son died in Palmetto General Hospital. According to a report from The Hill, Dr. Carlos Vallejo spent 42 days in intensive care at Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida.
Charles Vallejo is following in his father and grandfather's footsteps in becoming a doctor. He is a medical resident.
He said he believes his father may have contracted the virus while treating his patients in rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, a report from Miami Herald read.
Quite a Shock
While Dr. Carlos worked in the frontlines, his son thought he would be the last person he knew to die from COVID-19.
"My dad had no underlying health conditions. He was very healthy. It's a huge shock," he said.
He recounted how the entire family would ask his father to be careful around infected patients by maintaining a safe distance and wearing the right protective gear.
In turn, Dr. Carlos would tell them that he tried to protect himself as much as he could "but would say, 'I have to go in there and see my patients,'" said Charles.
He added that his grandfather was healthy and careful around patients as well. Jorge stayed at home most of the time during the pandemic.
But Jorge decided to come with the family to a restaurant to celebrate his 89th birthday. He may have come in contact with the virus through his son during the event.
The day after, he began to show symptoms of COVID-19.
Family of Immigrants
Jorge Vallejo and his family were immigrants. Hailing from Cuba, Jorge fled with his wife and children in 1965.
Years later, he had a family of physicians. He has two other sons, Jorge Jr., and Freddy. They became a psychiatrist and a dentist, respectively.
Five members of the Vallejo contracted the coronavirus, including Carlos's wife.
Family of Heroes
Jorge Vallejo worked as an OB-GYN for 45 years in Miami. He treated people from all walks of life, including celebrities.
But what he was most known for was delivering one of the world's smallest babies in the 1990s. The baby was 22-week old Baby Zascha.
According to a CNN report, Baby Zascha weighed only 15 ounces then and was dubbed the "Miracle Baby" after her birth. She is now 28 years old.
According to the Miami newspaper, Dr. Jorge felt "near to God" at the time.
Carlos Vallejo, on the other hand, was on the frontlines during the pandemic. He suited up in full protective equipment and treated dozens of COVID-19 patients.
Just like his father, Dr. Carlos Vallejo showed what it was like to be a hero in a time of uncertainty. For that, their family feels warm, knowing that they were loved by patients and died as heroes.
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