I-Team: Family shares loss of loved one to COVID-19


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Valley family is mourning the loss of their loved one tonight. Hector Gutierrez, 50, had no underlying health conditions and was taken by COVID-19.

The I-Team spoke with Hector’s wife about his fight with the virus and her message to others.

On Sunday, Tisa Gutierrez had to share devastating news with their children, the youngest being just 6-years-old.

“We started with ‘daddy passed away. Daddy is not coming home,'” she recounted. “He just said, ‘mommy, does that mean daddy can watch us from heaven now?'”

In early July, Tisa, Hector and one of their sons contracted COVID-19. Tisa says she’s not sure how they caught the virus.

She and their son recovered, but Hector became so ill, she took him to Centennial Hills Hospital.

He communicated with family by phone from his hospital bed.

“We had been talking a lot, and he would say, ‘just put the phone, just lay the phone somewhere so I could watch you guys, you know, so I can watch you do what you need to do’ and just so he didn’t feel alone or just so he could feel like he was with us,” Tisa recalled.

Hector also posted on Facebook, sharing his experiences:

  • “July 11: Last night, I felt like I could not take one more breath.”
  • Three weeks ago:
    • “I got a plasma transplant … and my lungs are closing down, so they are putting me on a machine.”
    • “Intubation, a last resort.”
    • “I’m going to be moved to the ICU.”
  • Two weeks ago:
    • “I am feeling better today! I still can’t breathe on my own, but we are working on it.”
    • “Hoping for a good day.”

He shared his love for family and friends in his posts, writing: “I will win, but if God’s plan is different, I want to thank you … and I love you.”

Tisa shared, “He just called to tell me that they were going to put him on the vent and that was our last conversation … and I asked the doctor, ‘have you seen anyone in his condition come out?’ And she hesitated, and she paused, and she said ‘no.’ She just shook her head, and I knew.”

She said she made the decision to “put him at ease. Let’s put his body at peace.”

Tisa says Hector was taken off life support. He leaves behind four sons.

Hector worked at the Nevada Department of Corrections as a digital telecommunications specialist. Coworkers set up a GoFundMe for the family.

Tisa says he was also a veteran, a Marine serving in Desert Storm.

“He was just a beautiful person,” she shared. “He made everyone laugh. He liked to celebrate life, and he just loved his boys.”

Tisa says now, their youngest continues to ask questions about heaven.

The family also has a message. Tisa says she wanted to share Hector’s story so people understand they need to take COVID-19 seriously and take precautions.

Tisa is also grateful for the nursers who took care of her husband, and she is urging people to show their support. One way she suggests is sending gifts of appreciation to the Centennial Hills ICU team, including:

  • Gift cards
  • Boxes of Costco snacks
  • Donuts
  • Healthy treats
  • Cards of Thanks on behalf of Hector Gutierrez, #520 from July 17-Aug. 2

The team works around the clock, with the day siders working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and night siders 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Tisa mentioned several members of the medical team who stood by Hector’s side, and wrote, “They work tirelessly to fight for our loved ones & celebrate the triumphs with us. This pandemic takes its toll on them, our heroes.”

If you’d like to donate to the Gutierrez family, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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