HOUSTON — A doctor who served some of the sickest COVID-19 patients in Houston, Texas, has died after contracting the virus himself.
Carlos Araujo-Preza was the medical director of the intensive care unit at HCA Houston Hospital in Tomball, Texas. He died Monday at the age of 51 after spending several weeks on a ventilator at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, KHOU reported.
According to the news station, Araujo-Preza was chosen to be a part of a national study to examine the effectiveness of convalescent plasma as a treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients. He had been working with the population since the spring.
“He was always really safe, and they always gave him the best medical equipment,” Araujo-Preza’s daughter, Andrea Araujo, told KHOU. “He was working in the ICU COVID unit every single day, so it’s something that can’t be avoided, unfortunately.”
Andrea Araujo said her father became infected with the coronavirus in October and his health continued to deteriorate throughout November.
“When he started having neurological problems due to COVID ... he could no longer speak coherently, and afterwards, he was intubated, so we could not speak to him for those last two weeks of his life,” she told KRIV.
Andrea Araujo is devastated that her father won’t be there for some of her life milestones.
“My dad will never see me graduate from my master’s program. He’ll never give me away at my wedding,” she said. “He’ll never see his grandkids. And that’s really hard.”
Araujo-Preza’s partner, Paige King, wrote on Facebook that he said he had no hesitation when it came to taking care of coronavirus patients. He told her he was born to do the job.
“Even now, as I struggle to come to terms with the fact that the love of my life is no longer here with me on this earth, I find comfort knowing that Carlos died by his own terms — he sacrificed himself in order to save the lives of others,” King, who is a nurse practitioner, wrote in a post.
Andrea Araujo hopes her father’s story will encourage people to be safe amid the ongoing pandemic.
“He always told me to stay home,” she told KRIV. “And, that’s my message to everybody. You never think it’s going to happen to you, and it’s really heartbreaking, and it’s something that I don’t wish upon any other family to go through.”
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