"I literally feel like I failed my dad": California surgeon's parents contract COVID-19

Doctor's parents contract coronavirus

Last Updated Apr 9, 2020 7:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles — A surgeon from San Diego is worried about his parents who are half-way across the country in Missouri. Both parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

California physician Greg Mundis feels paralyzed. His father has been on a ventilator for three weeks at a hospital.

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Greg Mundis' parents seen in an undated photo. Mundis Family Handout

"You know I have had a lot of crying spells," he told CBS News. "Certainly the longer you're on a ventilator, the worse it is."

The cruel irony is that both of Greg's parents, in their late 60s, got infected with coronavirus. His father was the picture of health.

Sandra, his mother, had underlying conditions and was treated right away with experimental drugs.

"Horrible, horrible. We've been married almost 49 years," Sandra said. "This is the longest we have ever gone without talking to each other."

"My dad's on the ventilator and my mom, who has diabetes and chronic lung disease, is not. It doesn't make sense. Right?" Greg asked. "I think the early management, especially on my mom ... Probably saved her life."

Greg's father could not get tested right away because of a shortage of test kits. By the time he was, it was too late.

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Greg makes a stop to deliver items to his mother Sandra. Mundis Family Handout

"I literally feel like I failed my dad," Greg explained. "You know, like I'm so helpless in this whole process."

"My son's an amazing person in many ways, and he should never, ever feel guilty," Sandra said.

One family, like so many others, clinging to hope, powerless to help.

"My dad is a pretty remarkable human being," Greg said. "And his life deserves to be celebrated whether he makes it through this or not."