Two generations of Florida doctors have died due to COVID-19.
Dr. Jorge A. Vallejo, 89, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, and his middle son, Dr. Carlos Francisco Vallejo, 57, were both hospitalized on June 21st, reported the Miami Herald.
Jorge, who fled Cuba with his wife and two of his three sons in 1965, died six days later on July 27th.
Carlos remained in the hospital and spent 42 days in the intensive care unit at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston. On August 1st, he succumbed to the novel virus, five weeks after his father passed.
Three other members of the family, including Carlos’ wife, wound up contracting the virus, but have since recovered.
Family members believe Carlos, who was an internist, contracted the virus from a patient. Prior to getting ill, he had been caring for 76 COVID-19 patients, many of which were residents of nursing homes.
“He really was a hero to so many people. I didn’t even want him to go to the nursing home and the hospitals because I was terrified,” his 31-year-old daughter, Gisselle Vallejo, told the outlet. “He wanted to be loyal. It was like he was available for them 24/7.”
Carlos' father was also a well-established doctor in South Florida.
In addition to delivering eight of his nine grandchildren, the elder Vallejo counted late salsa legend Celia Cruz as one of his patients.
The family is still processing the devastating loss of the two men, who lived near each other in Miami.
“We just lost basically both of our anchors of our whole entire family,” Jessica Vallejo, Jorge’s granddaughter and Carlos’ niece, shared with the Herald. “In my eyes, [my grandfather] was the American Dream.”