The infant daughter of a New York City firefighter died of a heart attack Monday while she was being treated for COVID-19, making her one of only a few children to suffer fatal complications after contracting the virus.
Her death is being classified as a coronavirus death, but Jay-Natalie La Santa died of cardiac arrest about a month after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, NBC News reported.
It was not clear whether the cardiac arrest was directly caused by the coronavirus infection. La Santa, who was a week shy of five months old, was born with a heart condition, according to the child’s grandmother, Wanda La Santa.
It was also unknown how the infant was infected with the virus, which clearly contributed to her death. “We have no clue how she got it,” Wanda La Santa told NBC News.
A tragic tale
La Santa’s parents, Jerel and Lindsey La Santa, brought Jay-Natalie to a Bronx hospital with a fever, and she received treatment there for a month until her death.
The infant had appeared to be improving before she passed away. Fluid in her lungs was lessening, but doctors were not able to resuscitate her after a sudden cardiac arrest, NBC News reported.
According to the grandmother, the little girl’s parents were at her side the entire time she was in the hospital.
Wanda La Santa said that the death of her first grandchild has “destroyed” the family. “She was the most precious thing we had,” she said.
A fundraiser for the family’s medical bills raised $41,000 in just days. After learning that the medical bills would be covered by their insurance, the family used some of the funds toward Jay-Natalie’s funeral and said they will donate the rest to the children’s hospital and neonatal care unit where she was cared for after birth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that only three children in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 14 have died from the coronavirus. More than 50,000 people are now said to have died in the U.S. from the virus.
In an announcement about Jay-Natalie’s death, the Hispanic Society of FDNY said that her father called her a “warrior princess” for her “fighting spirit.”
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Hello all, One of the worst experiences as a parent is to go through the loss of a child. It is with extreme sorrow to announce the passing of Jay-Natalie La Santa (5 months) daughter of our newest member to the Department and to the FDNY Hispanic Society family, Jerel and Lindsey La Santa. Called “Warrior princess” a title given to her by her Father Jerel, for her fighting spirit against the horrible covid-19 Virus. Rest in peace little one, God bless you. Please keep the La Santa family close in prayer and for peace during this difficult of times. Below, a GoFundMe has been set up by the family to help with Jay-Natalie medical expenses. Jose A Prosper President FDNY Hispanic Society Share or donate to this GoFundMe, https://gf.me/u/xyggpn
Jerel La Santa became a firefighter in New York in November, the same month Jay-Natalie was born, NBC noted.