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Hospitalized COVID-19 patient in need of treatment unavailable in RGV

3 weeks 21 hours 57 minutes ago Thursday, July 01 2021 Jul 1, 2021 July 01, 2021 5:23 PM July 01, 2021 in News - Local

A Valley mom is pleading for help as her son fights for his life against the coronavirus.

It's been almost two weeks since Irasema Diaz's 23-year-old son Eric Jared Diaz was admitted into the hospital with COVID-19. 

Though they both contracted the virus around the same time, Diaz says she recovered, but her son did not. With tears in her eyes, Diaz recalls one of the last conversations she had with her son before he was intubated. 

"He texted me, he's like, 'Mom, am I going to die?' I told him no— you're not going to die," she said. 

But according to doctors, the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment, used on critically ill patients like Eric, is not available in the Rio Grande Valley.

Though the family says they tried transporting him to a San Antonio hospital, they were told there wasn't enough space for Eric. 

Now, they're leaning on their faith, praying that Eric keeps fighting while they find a hospital with the special ECMO treatment that's willing to help. 

"He's such a good person, such a good dad," Eric's girlfriend Gabby Ozuna said as she held their daughter. "It just hurts me that she's so little, and I want her to have her dad."

Diaz said her son had been hesitant to get vaccinated against the virus, but it was something they were set on doing after beating COVID-19. 

"The doctor told me, if he would have had it, he wouldn't be in that situation," Diaz said. "So, if anybody is thinking of not getting that vaccine, I suggest not to think about it twice." 

Doctors say Eric will likely need a lung transplant. The family is now asking for prayers and hoping someone can help get their son admitted into a hospital that offers the treatment he needs to survive. 

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