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Tale of two families: A patriarch dies from coronavirus as a matriarch awaits blood transfusion

Local 10 News speaks to a son who just lost his father to COVID-19 and a woman who made an impassioned plea to get plasma donated for her hospitalized grandmother.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – South Florida remains the hotbed for coronavirus in the state, and Local 10 News spoke Friday to two families: A son who just lost his father this week to COVID-19 and a woman who made an impassioned plea to get plasma donated for her hospitalized grandmother.

David Buchalter fights tears as he remembers his father’s final words.

“The last text we got from him to our family was, ‘They’re going to put me on a ventilator. Not good. I love you all.’”

Perry Buchalter, 63, died Tuesday from complications of the virus.

It started with a fever, and then a little over a week later he developed a slight cough. The next day, March 28, his wife drove him to the hospital.

“He walked into that ER by himself,” David says.

The son says one of the most painful moments was the goodbye.

“My stepmother told him that she loved him. That he was her everything,” he said. “It was terrible. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a conversation that I’ll never forget.”

As this family prepares to lay its patriarch to rest with a virtual funeral Sunday afternoon on Zoom, another family is desperately trying to hold onto its matriarch.

“We just recently discovered that she needs the plasma,” said Amanda Rodriguez, whose 77-year-old grandmother Ines Valdes is hospitalized.

Rodriguez took to social media to plead for plasma from a COVID-19 survivor that could save Valdes’ life.

“They’ve already survived this, but they don’t realize that they are the survivors that could help the ones that are currently ill, because they have the antibodies in them,” she said.

Friday evening, Rodriguez got good news: they found a donor and are waiting to find out when the plasma will be transferred.

ALSO SEE: Doctor’s family searches for recovered coronavirus patient to donate blood plasma

About the Author:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.