Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

Father And Son Doctor Duo Die From Coronavirus After 5 Relatives Test Positive

A Florida family is mourning the loss of two members who passed away from the novel coronavirus within 5 weeks of each other, and who were both accomplished doctors in their respective fields.

As the Miami Herald reported, Dr. Jorge A. Vallejo, an 89-year-old retired obstetrician and gynecologist, passed away on June 27 — his son, Dr. Carlos "Charlie" Francisco Vallejo, 53, died just 35 days later on August 1.

The Vallejo's are a prominent family of doctors spanning three generations and 20 members, including dentists, psychiatrists, and medical students.

(Pictured: Jorge Vallejo) Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

"I think my family is the perfect example of what doctors should be,” Jessica Vallejo, Jorge's daughter and Carlos' niece, told CBS Miami. “My family has always been doctors who dedicate their lives to their patients.”

Carlos' son, Charlie Jr. a doctor in residence himself, added, “Just like firefighters put their life on the line, we do the same going into hospitals. It’s whatever you can do to heal and save your patients."

Both Jorge and Carlos were hospitalized with the disease on the same day: June 21, which also happened to be Father's Day.

Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

The retired family patriarch and his wife, Gisela, were originally from Guantánamo, Cuba before they fled to South Florida on a raft in 1965 to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.

The couple had three sons together: Jorge Jr., a psychiatrist, Freddy, a dentist, and the late Carlos, an internist. Jorge Sr., an OB-GYN himself, delivered eight of his nine grandchildren.

Carlos' family said he was caring for as many as 76 COVID-19 patients (including many elderly nursing home residents) before he was hospitalized with the virus himself.

Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

“He really was a hero to so many people," his daughter, Giselle Vallejo, told the Herald. "I didn’t even want him to go to the nursing home and the hospitals because I was terrified. 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," she added.

Prior to his death, five of Carlos' relatives, including his wife, Lisette, also tested positive for the disease which they believe Carlos contracted from one of his infected patients.

Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

His children told the Herald their father took every precaution while working so closely with COVID patients so he could continue to see them, sometimes even visiting them on his own time to make sure they were comfortable.

“A lot of these patients are scared and alone," his son, Charlie Jr., explained. "A lot of families are not able to say their final goodbyes and it’s a tragedy."

In the span of just over a month, the Vallejo family lost both Jorge and Carlos to coronavirus-related complications.

Jessica Vallejo via CBS Miami

Jessica, a reporter for CBS4, told the outlet that the loss of her grandfather and uncle has been difficult to cope with, particularly while she continues to report on the deadly effects of the coronavirus.

“It’s not just statistics, it’s a life, it affects a family," she said. "So when I’m reporting I remember that because it feels like my family is broken."

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

h/t: Miami Herald, CBS Miami

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