Broward County

Family Kept From Injured Man’s Bedside Over Coronavirus Concerns

Jorge “Tito” Fernandez was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was out walking their dog on March 12th

NBC 6 / Julia Bagg

A Hollywood family is living through a crisis that’s only getting more complicated because of coronavirus concerns.

“I’m living with anxiety,” said Jackie Rodriguez. Her husband, Jorge “Tito” Fernandez was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was out walking their dog on March 12th. The crash left him lying on the pavement near North 79th Avenue and McKinley Street in Hollywood.

Neighbors called 911. His dog Bella Luna, was unharmed. The rush to the hospital was only the beginning.

“You’re just desperate,” said Rodriguez. Her husband is currently fighting off pneumonia while unconscious and incubated in intensive care at Memorial Regional Hospital. Increasing coronavirus restrictions means most of his family cannot see him.

“At first, his mother and I were both allowed to come and then they just left it to the restriction of spouse only,” Rodriguez says, adding she’s allowed to visit an hour each morning but sometimes the staff lets her stay two hours.

“It’s scary because you can have the virus and not have any symptoms,” she said.

She worries someone infected could “bring it in and then he’s at risk.”

In response to cases like Jackie’s husband’s, Memorial Regional Hospital released a statement saying in part:

“We have recently instituted changes to our visitor policy and have changed how we triage patients in the emergency rooms because of this pandemic, but the level of care we provide remains focused on the quality and service to our patients.”

Rodriguez is also hopeful someone will help find the driver who struck her husband around 6:40 pm that Thursday night.

“This is a unique vehicle, there’s not many vehicles on the road like this,” said Officer Christian Lata, spokesman for Hollywood Police. Detectives are searching for a male driver behind the wheel of a 2004 to 2006 Hyundai Elantra.

Rodriguez expects her husband will need months and months of hospital care. Right now, she is waiting for him to wake up.

“I’m just hoping for this nightmare to end,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Broward CrimeStoppers.

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