Father and son doctors both die of coronavirus after falling ill on same day

A father and son who both became doctors in the United States and dedicated their lives to helping others have died after contracting coronavirus.

Dr Jorge A Vallejo, 89, and his son, Dr Carlos Francisco, 57, were both admitted to hospital on the same day in Florida on June 27.

Carlos is believed to have been infected by one of his patients and five family members ended up also contracting Covid-19, including his wife and father.

Jorge was widowed in 2005 and Dr Carlos – an internist working on the frontline with up to 76 patients including residents at three nursing homes – often provided his care.

The son had also cared for dozens of patients on the frontline before he fell sick with the disease.

Retired obstetrician Dr Jorge died six days after he was admitted to Palmetto General Hospital.

Tragically, Carlos passed away after his battle with the virus on August 1 after spending 42 days in the intensive care unit at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, US.

"We just lost basically both of our anchors of our whole entire family," CBS4 News reporter Jessica Vallejo, who was Dr Carlos' niece and Dr Jorge's granddaughter, told the Miami Herald.

"In my eyes, [my grandfather] was the American Dream."

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Dr Carlos' children also called him a hero, saying he took all the precautions needed during the pandemic and would use his personal time to make sure patients had everything they needed.

"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 Herald.

She went on: "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."

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"He was just my role model. I could talk to him every day for hours," his 23-year-old son Kevin said. "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."

Kevin was set to begin medical school on Monday but delayed his studies at Florida International University due to his father's passing.

Carlos' 26-year-old son Charlie said his dad took the internal medicine career path despite being offered a scholarship in the Caribbean.

"My dad was a great athlete … he actually turned down a [sports] scholarship to study medicine in the Dominican Republic," Charlie said.

The family has 20 doctors, dentists and medical students within it.

CBS4 reporter Jessica said her family is the "perfect example of what doctors should be … doctors who dedicate their lives to their patients."

Charlie told the station: "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."

Carlos' psychiatrist wife is hoping her sons follow in his footsteps.

"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," coronavirus survivor Lisette Vallejo, 57, told CBS4.

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