Death of Parkland Nurse’s Husband Underscores Private Battles Health Care Workers Face Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Parkland Health & Hospital System nurse Dolores Diaz poses for a photo with a photo of her late husband on July 9, 2020 at their home in Grand Prairie. Dolores' husband Juan died unexpectedly in late June. (Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)
Parkland Health & Hospital System nurse Dolores Diaz poses for a photo with a photo of her late husband on July 9, 2020 at their home in Grand Prairie. Dolores' husband Juan died unexpectedly in late June. (Juan Figueroa/Staff Photographer)

“This story is being reprinted in Texas Metro News as part of a partnership with The Dallas Morning News.”

Dolores Diaz, who has helped lead the region’s coronavirus testing, is now raising their four children on her own after her husband died of liver disease complications.

By Nic Garcia
Dallas Morning News Writer

Dolores Diaz was in the middle of testing hundreds of nursing home residents for the coronavirus when her husband sent her a text message: He was throwing up blood.

The Parkland Health & Hospital System nurse, who has helped lead Dallas County’s public testing effort since March, called her father-in-law and told him to take her husband to an emergency room. Juan Diaz was experiencing complications from his fatty liver.

When Dolores managed to pull away from testing at a nursing home, she rushed to the hospital.

By the time she got there, Juan was already being discharged. Doctors sent him home to Grand Prairie with anti-nausea medicine for an upset stomach.

Throughout the night, his condition deteriorated. Dolores again rushed him to an emergency room—this time to Parkland Memorial Hospital.

He died two days later, on June 27, of complications from liver disease. He was 53.

Juan—who liked to brag that Dolores and her work fighting the coronavirus were featured in The Dallas Morning News—was terrified that she would bring the virus home to their four children: Isaiah, 10; Israel, 6; Johnny, 3; and Leyla, 17 months.

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