FHN Family Shares How They are Facing COVID-19 Firsthand


Credit to Photo Submitted

Jesus DeLaPaz [far left] stands with his Father and Mother [center] as well as his brother Julian [far right] during a visit with their family in Tennessee last summer.

By Madi Tierney, FHNToday Reporter

Editors note: If you would like to donate to the DeLaPaz’s GoFundMe, the link is available here.

When senior Jesus DeLaPaz’s father was checked into the emergency room on March 24 with a fever and lower back pain, he didn’t know it would be the last time he would see his father before he was placed into a medically-induced coma.

Jesus had his father checked into Mercy Hospital last week after he developed symptoms during his dialysis appointment on Tuesday morning. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, March 27. The emergency room does not allow visitors, leaving Jesus’ father alone in the hospital for one week and one day.

Jesus, his mother and siblings have been told to self quarantine, and so far have shown no symptoms of the virus themselves. Their father was awake between Tuesday, March 24, and Friday, March 27, which is when they discovered he tested positive for the virus.

“We don’t know how he got it,” Jesus said, “Within these days they gave my dad antibiotics and antimalarial drugs Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine. He said he felt fine until the doctor had to speak with me, and he said it’s a silent killer. It’s like pneumonia. It’s attacking the lungs and makes it hard for oxygen to enter the body.”

Jesus’ father’s condition has been declining, and doctors told his family that they’d need to put him on a respirator due to topping out the amount of oxygen they can give him. The ventilator would not be comfortable, but the doctor told Jesus that if they didn’t do this his father would die.

“That woke me up,” Jesus said. “They had to put him in a medically induced coma, basically paralyzing his body so he could deal with the discomfort. It’s been three days since I’ve talked to him and the doctor called my family and told us his condition has gotten worse and how the ventilator is working at its full capacity.”

According to Jesus, the DeLaPaz family is struggling right now. They’re being faced with tough decisions because they’re being told there’s not much else the doctors can do besides let him fight.

“All we can do right now is pray that his other organs don’t go out,” Jesus said, “or we have to decide to let him go peacefully. We just received this news on April 1.”

Jesus wants to share the pain he and his family have gone through over the last week and a half in hopes to impact others so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“The toughest part is that we didn’t know that Tuesday was going to be the last time we were going to see him,” Jesus said, “His dream was to watch my brother Julian and I walk across the stage for graduation, but if God decides it’s his time to leave he can watch us from above with him.”

Jesus and his family have had a very hard time with this situation and he has a very important message he wants to share with the students and faculty of FHN.

“In one week my father went from a normal person getting treatment for his other health condition to now in a coma and facing death,” Jesus said. “It’s worse because we can’t be there with him and I possibly said my last words to him on Friday night. Stay safe guys. Don’t risk it, it’s not worth it.”

FHN sophomore, and younger brother to Jesus, Julian DeLaPaz, also had some heartfelt words to share with the community.

“It’s unimaginable that this would happen to us,” Julian said, “I miss him, I miss him a lot. Not being there by his side comforting him has been extremely hard; also not knowing that Monday evening was the last time I’d get to see him.”

Julian, his siblings, and mother are struggling a lot during this time, and they can’t imagine how he’s feeling or doing right now. They can’t imagine life without him.

“I don’t know if words can describe what he’s going through right now: pain, discomfort, loneliness,” Julian said. “No father should go through this. He loved everyone, had a huge heart and always put everyone before himself.”

“Stay inside guys, clean everything, and stay away from people who are at high risk. It’s not worth getting a loved one sick.” 


Update:  The DeLaPaz’s father passed away Saturday April 4, 2020. His family is heartbroken at the loss of their father.

“It’s very hard, but we’re just glad he isn’t suffering anymore,” Jesus said.

Jesus and Julian, with the help of family members, have created a GoFundMe in honor of their father.

“My father was our main source of income, so we would appreciate any help we can get during this difficult time,” Jesus said.