Homestead respiratory therapist who worked in Coral Gables dies of coronavirus

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The partner of Juan Quintas, a respiratory therapist who died in Miami-Dade County of complications with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, has a plea.

Maritza Ruiz said Quintas died on Monday. He was 55. As she grieves, she said she wants more be done to protect the healthcare workers who are risking their lives during the pandemic.

“We need to talk and continue to look for alternatives for all the healthcare workers, because my husband was a hero,” Ruiz said.

Healthcare workers need more protection, says partner of respiratory therapist who died

Ruiz said Quintas worked had decades of experience as a respiratory therapist. She said he worked at the West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital in southwest Miami-Dade, and he showed up even when he felt down.

“I wish that the government and anyone else that has to do with healthcare would help the workers that are in that situation,” Ruiz said. “This is a strong virus and we don’t know everything about it yet.”

Quintas’ son Gabriel Quintas said his dad never complained about not having Personal Protective Equipment. He said he loved his job.

“Maybe six weeks ago, he may not have had full PPE, but I think that’s when we were all starting to realize that this was a little more than ... something similar to the flu,” Quintas said.

West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital’s operator, Select Medical, released a statement on Friday evening saying they have “diligently” followed PPE guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local agencies. The hospital is also under a “universal masking protocol” and has a no visitors policy.

“We are deeply saddened with the passing of our colleague, and extend heartfelt condolences to his family," the statement said, adding that "Like all Americans witnessing this event, we are inspired by health care workers like Mr. Quintas who are heroes risking their own lives to save the lives of others.”

About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.