Emotional reunion for 6-year-old and doctor who saved her life

ABC7 News at 11pm
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 4:18 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Vasquez family experienced every parent’s worst nightmare the night they had to rush their 6-year-old daughter to the emergency room. She had woken up unable to breathe in the middle of the night.

In late August, 6-year-old Kiali Vazquez was rushed to the hospital.

Her parents knew something was not right and rushed her to the emergency room at HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital. As soon as she arrived, the team of nurses and other medical professionals, led by Fernando Rivera Alverez, M.D., went to work.

Alvarez was six weeks into his career at Doctor’s Hospital, but he was ready to save her.

During the next several hours, physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists worked to save Kiali. She was having a severe asthma attack and respiratory distress triggered by COVID-19.

“She was retracting so much and a lot of respiratory distress. The nurses actually were very quickly to actually identify this situation and call me immediately to tell me that there was like a baby that was having like severe respiratory distress,” Dr. Alvarez explained. “And I went straight to their room. I saw her and I knew at that beginning that something was not right in that case.”

Kiali was eventually airlifted to a Tampa hospital for further treatment. Her family says the quick action by the team at Sarasota Doctors Hospital saved her life.

Normally, the end of treatment is the end of the interaction of doctors and patients, but Kiali and her family were excited to thank Dr. Alverez. On Monday, they reunited once more outside of the hospital where the team saved Kiali’s life.