By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(HARRIS COUNTY, Texas) — A Texas doctor who treated COVID-19 patients died this week due to complications from the virus, relatives said.
Dr. Carlos Araujo-Preza died Monday night, his wife said in a moving social media post.
“Since COVID-19 was introduced to our community in early 2020,” the pulmonologist “has been at the forefront of the fight against this novel virus,” Paige King said in the post.
Araujo-Preza, 51, was recently the critical care medical director at HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball, in Harris County, Texas.
Earlier this spring, he participated in a national convalescent plasma study for critically-ill COVID-19 patients. In late April, he safely discharged his first patient to receive a convalescent plasma transfusion, HCA Houston Healthcare’s parent company announced.
“We are saddened by the passing of Dr. Carlos Araujo-Preza,” HCA Houston Healthcare said in a statement. “His clinical excellence, compassionate care and kindness will be greatly missed. Dr. Carlos Araujo-Preza touched so many of our lives and will always be remembered for his profound commitment to his patients.”
Araujo-Preza also owned the Woodlands Lung Center, where he managed patients on long-term ventilators, according to his bio on the company’s website.
As he battled the virus in the intensive care unit, the doctor was on a ventilator himself for several weeks, according to ABC Austin affiliate KVUE.
“My dad was relatively young, he was 51. He didn’t have any preexisting conditions that would have put him at risk,” his daughter, Andrea Araujo, told the station. “He was just unlucky to have gotten COVID, and a bad case of it.”
In her post, Araujo-Preza’s wife said the doctor was not afraid of treating COVID-19 patients, but that he declared he was “born for this.”
“Even now, as I struggle to come to terms with the fact that the love of my life is no longer here with me on this earth, I find comfort knowing that Carlos died by his own terms — he sacrificed himself in order to save the lives of others,” Page said.
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