Reporter speaks about losing her uncle and grandfather - both of whom were doctors - to Covid-19

Coronavirus: Father and son of renowned medical family in Miami die of coronavirus after being hospitalised on same day

‘He really was the true definition of a hero. I knew that when Covid started, that he was going to be a hero’

Louise Hall
Wednesday 12 August 2020 18:39
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A retired doctor and his son, who was also a doctor treating patients throughout the coronavirus pandemic, have died from coronavirus after being hospitalised with the disease on the same day.

Dr Jorge A Vallejo, 89, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, and one of his sons Dr Carlos Francisco Vallejo, both contracted coronavirus and were hospitalised in Miami, Florida, on the 22 June, The Miami Herald reported.

Jorge Vallejo, who has nine grandchildren, died six days after he was admitted to hospital on 27 June.

After a long battle against the virus, spending 42 days in intensive care, Carlos Vallejo also succumbed to complications of the disease, which family members believe he may have caught from one of his patients.

The 57-year-old doctor was reported to have been caring for as many as 76 Covid-19 patients, many of them elderly nursing home residents, before he fell sick.

“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,” Gisselle Vallejo, Carlos Vallejo’s 31-year-old daughter told The Herald.

“He wanted to be loyal. It was like he was available for them 24/7. He really was the true definition of a hero. I knew that when Covid started, that he was going to be a hero.”

Carlos’ Vallejo’s wife, Lissette Vallejo, 57, told the newspaper her husband was a board director at Palmetto General Hospital and led medical teams at three different nursing homes in South Florida. He often cared for his father, she said.

Jorge Vallejo was a renowned doctor in the Hialeah community, having once delivered a baby tied for the smallest in the United States in 1992, a girl that measured less than one pound when she was born, the newspaper reported.

The Vallejo’s are originally from Guantánamo, Cuba. They are a long line of physicians with 20 doctors, dentists, and medical students in the family CBS4 reported.

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“So I think my family is the perfect example of what doctors should be,” Jessica Vallejo, a CBS4 reporter who is Jorge Vallejo’s granddaughter and Carlos Vallejo’s niece, told the broadcaster. “My family has always been doctors who dedicate their lives to their patients.”

Two of Carlos Vallejo’s three children, Charlie Vallejo, 26, and Kevin Vallejo, 23, are reported to be both following their father's footsteps into the medical profession.

“He was just my role model. I could talk to him every day for hours,” Kevin Vallejo told The Herald. “He was such a giving doctor that if his patients were going through a hard time… he would see them for free and tell them not to worry about it.”

“I’m going to ask God for strength so my sons can finish medical school and follow in their father’s footsteps. I think that’s what he’d want me to do,” Lissette Vallejo. a practising psychiatrist said.

Jessica Vallejo, whose parents are also doctors and have contracted Covid-19 and survived it, said she “can’t picture life without” her uncle.

“We just lost basically both of our anchors of our whole entire family,” she said. “In my eyes, [my grandfather] was the American Dream.”

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