Adrian Ortiz bit back tears as he gazed at a mountain of gifts his family received on Wednesday morning with help from staff at the regional community medical center.
The outpouring of compassion was a welcome relief for her family a month after the tragedy when Ortiz’s wife, and mother of five, died after giving birth due to pre-existing health complications.
The idea to help the grieving family came from the Department of Women’s and Newborn Health, where Ortiz’s late wife Cristina Ortiz Corchado gave birth to a baby girl in late November. The hospital staff decided to “adopt” the family and buy them presents for Christmas.
“We knew this was a special situation,” said Sarah Putman, director of women’s and newborn health at the CRMC.
Putman said the staff were “so excited” to help the family given the “unusual” and difficult circumstances.
“Even though we knew we couldn’t take the heartbreak away, maybe we could help with the burden of facing a holiday season without a mother,” Putman said.
Father of five says gifts are “very important”
Ortiz Corchado was rushed to hospital in late November with high blood pressure due to a rare disease. The pregnant mother was in such a fragile condition that she couldn’t answer basic questions, Putman said.
Doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section on Ortiz Corchado to save her baby. The mother of five was then taken to the intensive care unit, where staff nurses brought the newborn girl to visit and be with her mother, who remained unconscious.
“We were grateful that we saved the baby but unfortunately the bleeding in his brain was too advanced,” Putman said in an interview with The Bee on Wednesday.
Hospital staff reached out to their colleagues, peers, family and friends and collected gifts for the widowed father and his five children: three daughters – aged 22, 10 and the infant now aged one. months – as well as two boys, aged 10 and 12.
The result was an outpouring of gifts and support for the Ortiz family.
On Wednesday morning, hospital staff helped Ortiz load a sleeper truck full of goodies, including gift cards for Food 4 Less and Target, a TV, scooters for all the kids, diapers, clothes, a hoverboard, etc.
“The gifts are very important and it is a great joy for my family,” said Ortiz, a 49-year-old farm worker based in Kerman and from Toluca, Mexico. “It fills me a lot” said Ortiz. “It fills me (with a lot of emotion).”
The family has also created a Go Fund Me page to help cover funeral costs.
Our mother’s death “hit us hard”
Ortiz’s brother and next door neighbor Gregorio Ortiz, 52, came out on Wednesday to support his brother and help him carry the gifts.
“It hit us hard” Gregorio Ortiz said about the death of his sister-in-law. “It hit us hard. “
It was difficult to see his nieces and nephews asking for their mother, said Gregorio Ortiz, who said he supported his brother during this time, just as he hoped his brother would support his family in this type of tragedy.
The family will organize a Christmas dinner “so the children don’t feel alone,” said Gregorio Ortiz. He said he hopes the hospital gifts and the holiday celebration will help distract the children from their mother’s passing, even momentarily.
Gregorio said he reminded his brother that his children, especially one of his daughters, looked like the mother. “I said ‘here she is, she hasn’t left us.'”
Adrian Ortiz said his children and his faith in God give him hope, as well as the support he has received from hospital staff.
“They’ve helped me a lot – the nurses, the doctors and the social workers,” Ortiz said. “More than anything, I felt supported. “
This story was originally published December 22, 2021 2:38 pm.