A nearly 5-month-old baby girl died of the coronavirus on April 20. The 30-year-old father of the baby is a newly minted FDNY firefighter.
During his emotional interview with the New York Post, the firefighter opened up about the dress that he bought her for his FDNY graduation ceremony. She passed away before she was able to attend.
The firefighter named Jerel La Santa bought the rose-gold dress with glittered roses for his baby, Jay-Natalie La Santa, to wear for his graduation on March 27. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the ceremony. She wore the dress she would have worn at her father’s graduation during her funeral.
“She went out looking like a princess,” the father told the newspaper tearfully. “She had such a beautiful white little casket because we didn’t want her in a body bag.”
La Santa had just finished his first shift as an NYC firefighter in The Bronx back in late March when he found out the frightening news that his baby was taken to the emergency room.
“When I got to my car, there was a note from my mother — ya know I couldn’t have my phone on because I’m the new guy — to go to the ER, she’s there,” La Santa said during the interview this past Thursday.
Jay-Natalie had a heart condition, was diagnosed with bronchitis, and had to be kept overnight because she had a fever, said her 29-year-old mother, Lindsey La Santa.
Jay-Natalie was tested twice by doctors for COVID-19. Once on March 21 and when she was admitted again on March 27. The second time is when they realized she had contracted the coronavirus.
Lindsey said that, according to doctors, it was unknown if her baby had it the whole time or if she caught it from being in the packed emergency room overflowed with sick adults and children.
On April 4, Jay-Natalie was intubated. ”She was so weak and lethargic,” Lindsey said. “From April to her last breath, she was just in a paralytic state.”
On April 20, the infant’s vitals went downhill.
“Everything is just perfect right now,” Lindsey recalled her husband saying just before things took a turn for the worst. Only one parent was allowed in their baby’s hospital room at a time.
”We were hopeful … her numbers were beautiful, her oxygen levels were good. Then 10 minutes later, Jerel called me to come … ‘she doesn’t have a pulse,’” she remembered.
Doctors attempted to save the infant for more than 30 minutes until realizing there was nothing more they could do. She passed a week before turning 5 months old.