UPDATE: Georgia father battling COVID-19 who needed life-saving treatment has died

Local father cant get access to lifesaving treatment

WAYCROSS, Ga. — UPDATE 1/25/2021 11:00 p.m.:

Jessie Santana’s wife reached out to Action News Jax Christy Turner Monday evening to share that sadly, Jessie has passed away.

“Jessie passed away tonight surrounded by his family,” said wife Lauri Santana.

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A GoFundMe was set up to help the family with his treatments, and is still accepting donations for funeral arrangements.

If you feel If you feel inclined to help, click HERE.

UPDATE 1/25/2021 11:30 a.m.:

They transferred Jessie Santana to Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC by flight.

Family says doctors say Jessie is not a candidate for ECMO at this point.

However, they started him on a new medicine.

So, far it hasn’t made much difference.

UPDATE 1/24/21:

Jessie Santana’s wife reached out to Action News Jax Christy Turner this morning to share some good news.

Lauri Santana said because of the story that aired in our newscasts on Friday, they will now be able to transfer Jessie to Mission Hospital in North Carolina.

The hospital has the ECMO machine necessary to help treat his damaged lungs.


he family of a Waycross, Georgia father battling COVID-19 said he’s unable to receive life-saving treatment because of his deteriorating condition and hospital overload.

Jessie Santana, a 34-year-old father of three, has been hospitalized in Valdosta for nearly a month.

Lauri Santana said her husband was placed on a ventilator a little over a week ago.

Mrs. Santana said doctors told her the father needs Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment to help heal his damaged lungs.

“The doctor said that the ECMO machine is his only hope,” Mrs. Santana said. “If we don’t find one by Friday, then he probably doesn’t have a good chance to live.”

Dr. Mohammad Reza said ECMO is a last-ditch effort to try and keep someone alive.

“It’s really concerning when someone is requiring ECMO to keep them alive,” Dr. Reza said. “When you need ECMO you’re pretty far along.

Dr. Reza explained how ECMO works.

“It is pumping blood through your heart because your lungs are just not working very well, so when you are maxed out on that ventilator to help somebody breathe you need to supply that blood throughout your whole body and that’s what we use to do that,” Dr. Reza said.

The problem is Mrs. Santana said they haven’t been able to find a hospital with the space to take her husband in.

“A lot of places told us they could if they had a bed,” Mrs. Santana said. “All the hospitals around are very full because of COVID-19.”

Mrs. Santana said they had a couple of centers that said they would consider her husband but denied him because of his BMI.

Mrs. Santa said between family and friends, they’ve personally called more than 50 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee pleading to take the father in. Mrs. Santana said she won’t stop fighting for her husband.

“I just want to give him every opportunity that he can to be alive,” Mrs. Santana said. “I don’t ever want to think that we didn’t try as hard as we could to save him.”

If you feel inclined to help the family, click HERE.