Coronavirus deaths hit hard in health care community

Radiology technician Devin Francis and respiratory therapist Jorge Mateo are being remembered.

MIAMI, Fla. – One was a radiology technician, the other a therapist who helped patients with breathing.

The front-line health care workers are two more huge losses to the South Florida community as a result of the coronavirus.

Devin Francis had just celebrated his 44th birthday a was engaged to be married in a couple of months. The radiology technician in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s emergency department died Wednesday of complications of COVID-19.

Jorge Mateo, who was a longtime respiratory therapist at Coral Gables Hospital, also lost his life after becoming infected with the virus.

“As a respiratory therapist at Coral Gables Hospital for more than four decades, the loss of Jorge Mateo is felt throughout our entire community,” the hospital said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our staff, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

The union representing workers like Francis called him a dedicated public servant and frontline warrior at Jackson.

Francis’ little sister, reached over social media, said she and his fiancé are too distraught to talk.

“Devin was a dedicated radiology technician in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department for more than a year," a hospital spokeswoman wrote in a statement. “He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and by the health system.”

Devin Francis (WPLG)

On Wednesday, the local health care community also lost longtime gynecologist Luis Caldera-Nieves, who died from COVID-19 complications.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.