[Deep Night Detective]NYPD detective’s Father’s Day miracle

  NYPD cops Martin and Yesenia Lopez always do everything they can to protect New Yorkers — but they couldn’t protect themselves from the disease that lurked everywhere.

  Yet any way you look at it, they’ve still witnessed a miracle.

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  On March 25, when vaccine distribution was well underway and people felt that the pandemic might be nearing its end, Martin Lopez — a detective — stood in the kitchen of his Rockland County home, his pregnant wife’s COVID-19 test results in hand.

  ”’Don’t get alarmed. Try to stay calm. The test came back positive,’” Martin, 40, told the love of his life.

  Advertisement Elias Lopez Elias Lopez (Mount Sinai Health System)

  ”And she looked at me, and it’s almost like she didn’t grasp what I had just said. She said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I told her again, and that’s when she broke down,” Martin told the Daily News.

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  ”I was reassuring her everything’s going to be fine. But this was our biggest fear. This was our worst case scenario.”

  Police Officer Yesenia Lopez came down with a persistent fever earlier that week, and by the weekend she had developed a deep, unrelenting cough and severe shortness of breath.

  With her health waning, Martin got her in the car on March 29 and made for the emergency room at The Mount Sinai Hospital, worried the entire ride his 34-year-old wife might not pull through.

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  What came next was a birth followed by an over month-long battle against COVID-19.

  “There were so many times that I wished I could trade places with them when they when they were in the hospital,” said Martin, who wasn’t able to see his son Elias up close in the NICU for 20 days. “You’re constantly [wondering] are they going to be able to come home? Are they going to make it out?”

  Dr. Francesco Callipari, Yesenia’s obstetrician, met the couple in the emergency room, immediately saw how his patient was gasping for air and she was admitted to the surgical ICU.

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  But at around 3:30 a.m. on March 31, hospital staff phoned the physician and said Yesenia was rapidly deteriorating.

  NYPD Det. Martin Lopez, NYPD Police Officer Yesenia Lopez with their son, Elias Lopez NYPD Det. Martin Lopez, NYPD Police Officer Yesenia Lopez with their son, Elias Lopez (Mount Sinai Health System)

  “I rushed right to the hospital, and [my colleague] joined me and we were both at her bedside the whole time,” said Callipari, who stayed with Yesenia for nearly 10 hours. “And during that time, we called her husband to come in right away because we had to make some important decisions on what to do next.”

  At least seven medical teams — more than a dozen doctors and their nurses and other support staff — cared for the mother throughout the night.

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  Her low oxygen saturation had caused the baby’s heart rate to dwindle, and she needed to be intubated to save them both. But her lungs were so stiff from fluid that they couldn’t inflate on their own, and so physicians hooked her up to Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine to pump blood out of her body, remove the carbon dioxide from her blood, then send the oxygen-filled blood back into her body.

  Even with that the baby’s heartbeat did not improve — and Callipari, with the ok from Martin, decided to do an emergency C-section.

  Advertisement NYPD Police Officer Yesenia Lopez with her son, Elias Lopez NYPD Police Officer Yesenia Lopez with her son, Elias Lopez (Mount Sinai Health System)

  “It was terrible. It was very emotional for everybody,” Callipari said, noting that in 29 years, he had never treated a case like Yesenia’s. “It was really touching go at some points. We’re trying to be calm, but it was very frightening.”

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  Dr. Sanam Ahmed — who worked to help oxygenate Yesenia on a ventilator before she was hooked up to the ECMO, and later cared for her in the cardiac surgical ICU — spoke to Martin shortly after his son’s delivery.

  “[He] was crying, I told him, You have a son, your new baby is here. And he told me, ‘I’m not crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because my wife is alive and my son is alive.’ And you guys have given them a chance.”

  Yesenia — who does not remember the delivery and the days that followed — said she had decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant out of concern of what it might do to their unborn child.

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  She now says she wishes she would’ve had the inoculation — and urges other expectant mothers to get the life-saving shot.

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  “I didn’t know if it was going to have any effect on the baby. We don’t know as much as we do now,” Yesenia said.

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  Martin got vaccinated in January and she would’ve have, if not for the pregnancy.

  NYPD Det. Martin Lopez, NYPD Officer Yesenia Lopez, with their son, Elias Lopez and members of Mount Sinai’s Institute for Critical Care and obstetrician. NYPD Det. Martin Lopez, NYPD Officer Yesenia Lopez, with their son, Elias Lopez and members of Mount Sinai’s Institute for Critical Care and obstetrician. (Mount Sinai Health System)

  ”We are both law enforcement and we worked during the whole pandemic when it was very bad. It made me confident that I wasn’t going to get it,” she added. “We weren’t reckless, we were taking [the pandemic] seriously, we took precautions. And it still happened to us.”

  For Martin, the day he first held Elias reminded him of those moments the virus had taken from them: a baby shower, the birth of their first child, cradling their son seconds after he came out of the womb.

  ”We were robbed by COVID. It’s not anything material, it’s not something you can ever replace,” he said. “[But] every day I thank God Yesenia and the baby are home… [They] are doing so much better — and that’s all I need,” he added.

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  “This Father’s Day, all I need is my family. And I have that, and I am so grateful.”