Beloved pediatrician loses his battle with cancer Imperial Valley community mourns the loss of Dr. Oscar B. Ortiz
Dr. Oscar B. Ortiz holds the last premature baby he cared for at the neonatal unit at El Centro Regional Medical Center. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ECRMC / August 3, 2013)
Ortiz worked as a pediatrician for more than 45 years and was one of the few neonatologists in the Imperial Valley.
Ortiz most recently worked with El Centro Regional Medical Center.
ECRMC Chief of Staff Leslie Mukau sent a letter to staff informing them of his passing.
“Oscar died after a long and valiant struggle with cancer,” wrote Mukau. “Each of us not only grieves at the passing of a tremendous individual; a consummate and a compassionate physician, a beloved colleague but also for the loss his family suffers.”
Dr. Luz Elva Tristan worked with Ortiz at ECRMC and said he was the founder of the neonatal unit at the hospital.
“The neonatal unit was his passion,” said Tristan, “He served as a mentor for many nurses and physicians in that department.”
Rosie Fernandez, vice-president for Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District, was a longtime friend and coworker of Ortiz for many years.
“We are sad to see him go and we are going to miss him dearly,” said Fernandez, “especially the nurses who worked with him for many years in the nursery.”
Fernandez first met Ortiz when he worked in the emergency room at Calexico Hospital in 1978.
“He was a very humble man,” said Fernandez, “and he did a lot for the community.”
Fernandez recalled a member of her family died during childbirth in 1979.
“Dr. Ortiz took care of that baby for 24 hours in the hospital and made sure she was stabilized,” said Fernandez. “He did not leave the baby’s side during those 24 hours.”
Fernandez said Ortiz was an old-fashioned doctor that cared for and put his patients first above all else.
Ortiz was a humble man and always gave credit to his nurses for their hard work.
Heida Teeter quoted Ortiz during a preemie party where he greeted mothers and said, “Please don’t thank me for saving your babies, thank all the nurses, they did all the hard work.”
Kathleen Pipkin, ECRMC director of public relations, confirmed rumors of his passing on Friday.
Pipkin said Ortiz was an amazing doctor.
“He was so caring,” she said. “That kind of care you just cannot buy.”
There has been a Facebook page dedicated in memory of Dr. Ortiz.
Locals have posted heart-warming memories about their special moments with Dr. Ortiz.
Family members were unable to be reached for comment by press time.
You can view the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InmemoryofDroscarortiz
Staff Writer Alexis Rangel can be reached at 760-337-3440 or firstname.lastname@example.org