SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s not every day that doctors and nurses have the chance to reconnect with their patients, especially those who work in the emergency room.

Monday was a special day at HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital. The emergency room team reunited with a 6-year-old girl who had a close call last month.

It was in the middle of the night when 6-year-old Kiali Vazquez woke up struggling to breathe. She had gone to bed hours earlier with no issues.

Her parents tried treating her at home with a nebulizer but quickly realized something was seriously wrong. They rushed her to the ER at Doctors Hospital where they learned from doctors she was suffering from a severe asthma attack and respiratory distress triggered by COVID-19. Her parents say up until that point, she had never been diagnosed with asthma.

Emergency physician Dr. Fernando Rivera Alvarez remembers that night like it was yesterday. At first, he says the young girl wasn’t responding to treatment

“This is one of the worst cases I have ever seen, especially in a young kid. It was like 3 a.m. so it was very difficult, but we had the best team actually here that day. I still remember when we put that mask on her. She actually had this relief, like she can actually breathe again, and that was such a relief for all of us,” Rivera Alvarez said.

Photo courtesy: Monica Rodriguez

When the team saw Kiali doing well Monday, a few of them were brought to tears. “Oh honey, you look so good,” said one employee when she hugged the young girl.

Kiali was holding a homemade sign when doctors and nurses came out of the hospital to see her. It said, “thank you for taking care of me while I was sick.”

Her parents also expressed their gratitude.

“We definitely wanted to show appreciation. We went through a very, very hard time with our daughter. It was a very scary moment and we realized that just the way that they took care of her, the proactiveness of what they did, and how fast they reacted to the emergency that we had, that is what definitely saved her life,” said Monica Rodriguez, her mother. “She was transferred to another hospital in St. Pete and the doctors there mentioned that the way they reacted here (Doctors Hospital), that’s what saved her life,” she continued.

“We love patients. We become attached to them and when we lose them. It is devastating for everybody. So when you see somebody that can beat it and gets better, we all rejoice. It is fabulous,” said pulmonologist Dr. Janine Mylett.