(CNN) — Two well-known Cuban doctors from Florida, father and son, died of complications from Covid-19, according to a family member.
Dr. Carlos Vallejo, 57, and his father, Dr. Jorge Vallejo, 89, were hospitalized during the early hours of Father’s Day morning. They died five weeks apart, Carlos’s son Charlie Vallejo said.
Dr. Jorge Vallejo was a retired OB / GYN who practiced for over 45 years in the Miami area and treated celebrities such as salsa singer Celia Cruz. He was known for giving birth to one of the smallest babies in the world, a 22-week-old boy who weighed 425 grams.
He moved with his family, including two-year-old Carlos, to Miami from Guantánamo, Cuba, in 1965. His three children also studied medicine.
Dr. Carlos Vallejo was at the forefront of the pandemic, wearing full personal protective equipment and treating dozens of COVID-19 patients at any one time.
Charlie Vallejo told CNN that his father treated his patients like family.
“He cared too much,” said Charlie Vallejo. “He died a hero.”
They died weeks apart
Jorge died on June 27 while Carlos was battling COVID-19 in a hospital room. His family delivered the devastating News of his father’s death on FaceTime.
“(He was) surrounded by machines and without human contact, so I think that broke it,” Charlie Vallejo said.
After three weeks in the ICU, including two weeks on a ventilator, Carlos Vallejo died on August 1. Charlie said that his father did not have any pre-existing conditions.
He felt like a champion, you know. He was a warrior to the end, “said Charlie Vallejo.
Five members of the Vallejo family contracted coronavirus, including Carlos’s wife. The family believes that Carlos Vallejo was very cautious, but became infected while treating the patients.
Carlos is one of more than 900 US healthcare workers who have died from the same disease from which they are trying to save others.
To commemorate them, Kaiser Health News and The Guardian US teamed up to publish a database of all U.S. healthcare workers who have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began.
CNN’s Scottie Andrew contributed to this report.