California Coronavirus Deaths: The Toll on Hispanic Americans


I keep on replaying over and over, ” she said. “What did I say, what did I do? Could I have done something different? If I have turned the car around and went to the E.R. Myself to say Why are you sending him home? ’”

Mr. Ruby spent the next few days at home sleeping. He refused food, and Ms. Herrera, who was starting to recover from her own bout with the virus, tried to make sure he stayed hydrated.

When Mr. Fernandez, his cousin, was texted to ask how he was, Mr. Ruby responded with one word: Tired. ”

On Dec. 8, Mr. Ruby’s skin started to turn blue, and Ms. Herrera called an ambulance. This time, the hospital confessed. A couple of days afterwards, Mr. Ruby seemed to rally. But then he took a turn for the worse and was told that he would be put on a ventilator.

He told Ms. Herrera on the phone that he was scared.

I just kept reminding him, Youre going to come home, youre going to be OK, and when its time, well laugh about it, she explained. He died on Jan. 16.

The family’s despair metastasized into accusations and guilt. Some of Mr. Ruby’s family members blamed Ms. Herrera, saying she should have gotten him help earlier. Mr. Fernandez blames the hospital, saying E.R. Physicians should never have sent Mr. Ruby home when he sought help.

There was bickering over contributions raised to help the family get through the crisis, and relationships have frayed. Life will never be the same for anyone in the extended family.

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