NYC pediatric neurosurgeon, 73, dies from coronavirus

World-renowned NYC pediatric neurosurgeon, 73, who separated conjoined twins dies from coronavirus

  • Dr. James T. Goodrich died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19
  • He separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald three years ago in a NY hospital
  • Montefiore Medical Center described Goodrich as a ‘humble and caring man’
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A world-renowned NYC pediatric neurosurgeon who separated conjoined twins has died from coronavirus. 

Dr. James T. Goodrich, 73, died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19, the hospital where he worked announced. 

He separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald four years ago at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City in a 27-hour surgery. 

Dr. James T. Goodrich, 73, (pictured) died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19, the hospital where he worked announced

The hospital have described Goodrich as a ‘humble and truly caring man’ who ‘did not crave the limelight and was beloved by his colleagues and staff.’ 

They added that he was a skilled neurosurgeon but was also kind and used to bake cookies during the holidays to give to the nurses that he worked with.  

Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip O. Ozuah said: ‘Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed. His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.’  

In a tweet the hospital said: ‘The Montefiore community is mourning the loss of Dr. James T. Goodrich, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. Dr. Goodrich passed away on March 30, 2020 from complications associated with COVID-19.’

Dr. James T. Goodrich (left) separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald (pictured with their mother Nicole) three years ago at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City in a 27-hour surgery

The statement went on to say that he was a generous mentor and teacher who shared his expertise with aspiring young surgeons. 

The pioneering neurosurgeon spent more than 30 years at the Bronx hospital, where he was director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery.

He was also a professor of clinical neurological surgery, pediatrics, plastic and reconstructive surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

The hospital said Goodrich, originally from Oregon, served as a Marine during the Vietnam war. It was during this time he decided to pursue a medical career. 

Dr. Goodrich will leave behind his wife and three sisters. The hospital has sent their condolences to the family. 

The twin boys he famously separated were born via Cesarean section in September 2015 near Chicago, Illinois.  

They were joined at the crown and shared a five-to-seven centimeter section of brain tissue.

The twins were born in September 2015 near Chicago, Illinois, and were known as craniopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the skull. Pictured: Anais, left, and Jadon

The operation, which took place over October 13 and 14, 2016, cost a cool $2.5million and lasted an incredible 27 hours

Just five months later, the McDonalds traveled to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to have Dr. Goodrich perform the incredibly rare operation to separate their heads. 

After the twins arrived at the hospital in February, the four-stage separation procedure was planned, in-part, by using 3-D printing technology to map the boys’ anatomy. 

The operation, which took place over October 13 and 14, 2016, cost a cool $2.5million and lasted an incredible 27 hours.

The 40-person surgical team was led in part by Dr. Goodrich, who specializes in separating craniopagus twins.

Two months later, in December, Jadon and Anais were transferred to Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester Country to begin rehabilitation. 

The coronavirus pandemic continues to claim more victims as the death toll on Monday surpassed 3,000 Americans, including a single mother of six children who bid her farewell using a walkie-talkie, and a New Jersey National Guardsman, the first military figure to die after contracting the virus.

Sundee Rutter, 42, a breast cancer survivor from Snohomish County, Washington State, died on March 16 after contracting the coronavirus

Sundee Rutter, 42, a breast cancer survivor from Snohomish County, Washington State, died on March 16 after contracting the coronavirus. 

She was first admitted to Providence Regional Medical Center, the hospital which treated the first known case of COVID-19, on March 3, according to BuzzFeed News.

That day, she and her son, Elijah Ross-Rutter, 20, spent eight hours in a sealed room while she was treated by hospital staff wearing full protective suits.

‘They don’t even want to touch my mom,’ Elijah, who was allowed to see his mother with a face mask on, recalled.

That same day, she was sent home.

‘She thought she had the flu, probably,’ Ross-Rutter said.

‘But like, the coronavirus? It was kind of hard for us to understand how she could get it because not that many people had it around here.’

Rutter, a single mother of six children from Snohomish County, Washington State, bid her children farewell through a two-way radio as she lay dying in the hospital. She passed away on March 16


Rutter, who tested positive for coronavirus, was a breast cancer survivor. She was kept in the hospital on March 7 after initially being diagnosed with pneumonia

Rutter is seen above with her six children in this undated file photo. She would have turned 43 years old in August

‘For a while, she was able to text,’ her son, Elijah Ross-Rutter (above),20, said. On March 12, his mother texted him that she was feeling ‘much better.’ But her text messages would eventually be limited to just emojis

Four days later, Rutter and her son returned to the hospital. While Ross-Rutter waited in the visiting area, his mother was examined by doctors.  

A few hours later, Ross-Rutter was told that his mother was suffering from pneumonia and that she would be kept at the hospital overnight. 

The next day, Rutter tested positive for coronavirus.

‘For a while, she was able to text,’ Ross-Rutter said. On March 12, his mother texted him that she was feeling ‘much better.’ 

But her text messages would eventually be limited to just emojis.

‘She was sending me hearts on the messages but she wasn’t replying,’ Ross-Rutter said.

On March 16, the family received a phone call from a doctor telling them they should come to the hospital. 

Ross-Rutter, his five siblings, and his mother’s sister watched from a small glass window as Rutter lay in her bed.

As Rutter was moment away from death, her 20-year-old son assured her that her children would be looked after.

The children said goodbye to their mother using a hand-held radio whose receiver was propped next to her pillow. 

‘I told her I love her … she shouldn’t worry about the kids,’ Ross-Rutter said.

The most difficult part was not being able to be in the same room with his mother during her final moments.

‘Like, I’m about to lose my best friend and she can’t even hear me,’ Ross-Rutter said. 

Captain Douglas Linn Hickok (above) is the first American service member to have died after contracting the coronavirus

First US military service member dies from coronavirus 

The first US military service member has died from the coronavirus, the Pentagon said on Monday, as it reported another spike in the number of infected troops.

The service member was a New Jersey Army National Guardsman who tested positive for COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – and had been in the hospital since March 21. 

He died on Saturday, the Pentagon said.

Hickok has been in the hospital since March 21

‘Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to coronavirus,’ Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. 

‘This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community.’

The nationwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, the deadliest day yet.

The New Jersey National Guard identified him as Captain Douglas Linn Hickok, a drilling guardsman in Medical Command and a civilian physician assistant, originally from Jackson, New Jersey.

‘Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family,’ New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter.

General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, lamented the death and said ‘all of us are likely to know people directly affected by this virus in the coming weeks.’

Earlier on Monday, the Pentagon said that 568 troops had tested positive for the coronavirus, up from 280 on Thursday. 

More than 450 Defense Department civilians, contractors and dependents have also tested positive, it said.

Reuters reported last week that the US military has decided to stop providing more granular data about coronavirus infections within its ranks, citing concern that the information might be used by adversaries as the virus spreads.

The new policy, which the Pentagon detailed in a statement on Monday, appears to underscore U.S. military concerns about the potential trajectory of the virus over the coming months – both at home and abroad.

There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus cases among troops inside the United States, which officials tell Reuters have overtaken the number of cases among forces overseas in key branches of military.

More than 164,000 people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 3,100 have died since the nationwide outbreak began in late January.  

Among the latest victims are a Michigan state congressman, a member of the Louisiana governor’s disability office, a college senior weeks away from graduating, an FDNY ambulance mechanic and a 24-year-old from Utah who contracted the disease from her father. 

Their stories shed light on how quickly COVID-19 can strike people of all ages, including those who don’t have underlying health problems.       

More than 164,000 people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3,180 have died since the nationwide outbreak began in late January. Among the latest victims was Michigan state Rep Isaac Robinson (pictured), who died aged 44 at a Detroit hospital on Sunday

Michigan state Rep Isaac Robinson dies at 44, days after he first began experiencing coronavirus symptoms 

Isaac Robinson, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 4th district in Detroit, passed away on Sunday morning at Detroit Medical Center Hospital. 

He was not officially diagnosed with COVID-19 before he died, but many who knew him have said they suspect the disease was the culprit. 

House Minority Leader Chris Greig (D-Farmington Hills) told the Detroit Free Press she spoke with Robinson on Thursday night and he said he hadn’t been feeling well. 

Greig said Robinson didn’t go to the hospital until Sunday because ‘he was pretty stubborn’. 

‘I spoke with Rose Mary [Robinson’s mother] tonight and she’s in shock,’ she said. ‘She told me she believes it was COVID-19.’

Robinson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018, taking over the seat from his mother, former state Rep Mary Robinson. He served on the Commerce and Tourism, Regulatory Reform and Tax Policy committees

Robinson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018, taking over the seat from his mother, former state Rep. Mary Robinson. He served on the Commerce and Tourism, Regulatory Reform and Tax Policy committees. 

Greig described Robinson as a relentless advocate for his constituents who frequently participated in protests on issues such as water shutoffs, air quality and working conditions.  

‘Anytime Isaac spoke, anytime he was working on something, it was with a huge passion and focus on making lives better for Detroiters,’ she said. ‘It’s just heartbreaking for our caucus, the city and the state.’ 

About two weeks before his death, Robinson called on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to institute a statewide ban on utility shutoffs and evictions during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Whitmer issued a statement about the lawyer and prominent community activist, remembering his ‘huge heart, quick wit, and genuine passion for the people’.

‘He was a fierce advocate for Detroiters and people across Southeast Michigan,’ Whitmer said. 

‘He dedicated his career to ensuring justice and security for those he served, and the impact he had on his community will continue to be felt for years to come.’

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also paid tribute to Robinson and expressed his condolences to the politician’s family.  

‘Representative Isaac Robinson fought passionately for the issues he believed in and for those in our community who needed a strong advocate like him,’ Duggan said. 

‘His passing is a devastating loss to our community and another reminder of how we all need to do our part to protect ourselves and each other in these difficult times.’

Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted a photo of herself with Robinson, writing: ‘There has never been a greater prince of a man than Isaac. No one who worked harder or loved his community more. No better person who has walked this earth. My heart is broken.’ 

Robinson is one of several prominent officials in Detroit who are believed to have died from coronavirus, including community leader Marlowe Stoudamire, police homicide Capt Jonathan Parnell and Wayne County Sheriff’s Cmdr Donafay Collins. 

Michigan has recorded more than 5,400 coronavirus cases and 132 deaths as of Monday, with the majority concentrated in Detroit.  

Silvia Deyanira Melendez, 24, dies from coronavirus after five members of her family contracted the disease 

Silvia Deyanira Melendez passed away on Saturday at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to her family. 

The 24-year-old suffered from diabetes and underwent heart surgery two years ago, putting her at high risk for coronavirus complications. 

Silvia Deyanira Melendez, 24, died on Saturday at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, after she and four of her family members contracted coronavirus

Her father Marcos, 54, said five of the seven people living in their home in West Jordan have tested positive for COVID-19 since he first began experiencing symptoms about two weeks ago.  

‘When I talked to the doctor she said if I had [symptoms] or anyone in my family had it, we’re supposed to [assume] we’re positive,’ Marcos told The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, describing how he and two of his sons suffered from fever, chills, body aches, coughs and diarrhea. 

Silvia and her mother, 49-year-old Silvia B Melendez, were hospitalized with severe breathing problems on March 20.  

Angelica Macias, who is the girlfriend of one of the Melendez sons and lives with the family, said the younger Silvia had to be sedated and intubated with a breathing tube as her blood pressure continued to drop.  

Macias said Silvia began showing signs of recovery until Saturday, when her ‘heart started beating too fast’ and she died.  

Her mother was discharged from the hospital the same day and is recovering.  

Silvia’s 22-year-old brother Xander said his sister worked as a receptionist at a medical imaging company and hoped to one day have a career that would allow her to travel.  

‘She was a fighter, that’s for sure,’ Xander said. ‘She fought a lot of things in her life.’ 

Silvia’s 22-year-old brother Xander (pictured together) said his sister worked as a receptionist at a medical imaging company and hoped to one day have a career that would allow her to travel. ‘She was a fighter, that’s for sure,’ Xander said

Ambulance mechanic James Villecco, 55, becomes the first member of the FDNY to die of coronavirus 

James Villecco, a 55-year-old Army veteran and ambulance mechanic for the Fire Department of New York, died on Sunday after contracting coronavirus. 

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro praised Villecco as an ‘unsung hero’ in a statement announcing his death. 

‘Behind the thousands of calls our members respond to every day is a team of dedicated and skilled mechanics who ensure our ambulances are running 24/7,’ Nigro said.

‘James Villecco was one of those truly unsung heroes in our Department whose outstanding work provided medical care for the people of our city. The entire Department mourns his loss.’ 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also paid tribute to Villecco at a press conference, telling reporters: ‘This is the kind of unsung hero who doesn’t get the credit he deserves. 

‘This is the kind of man who keeps us safe because he kept the ambulances in good repair so they could get there to help all of us.’

Villecco joined the FDNY Bureau of Fleet Services in 2014 and was assigned to the Coney Island repair facility. He later joined the Review Avenue Facility in Long Island City, where he worked in the ambulance repair shop.  

He is survived by his wife Joy and daughter Jessica. 

New York City has recorded more coronavirus cases than any other metropolitan area by a significant margin, with more than 36,000 infections and 790 deaths as of Monday.  

James Villecco, a 55-year-old Army veteran and ambulance mechanic for the Fire Department of New York, died on Sunday after contracting coronavirus. He is survived by his wife Joy (pictured together) and daughter Jessica

Villecco joined the FDNY Bureau of Fleet Services in 2014 and was assigned to the Coney Island repair facility. He later joined the Review Avenue Facility in Long Island City, where he worked in the ambulance repair shop

April Dunn, a member of the Louisiana governor’s staff, dies aged 33 from coronavirus complications 

Louisiana Gov John Bel Edwards announced the death of his staff member April Dunn on Saturday. 

The 33-year-old served as chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and was a part of the State As A Model Employer Taskforce.   

‘It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April,’ Edwards said in a statement.

‘She brightened everyone’s day with her smile, was a tremendous asset to our team and an inspiration to everyone who met her. 

‘I was proud to have an advocate like April on the task force and on my staff. She set a great example for how other businesses could make their workforce more inclusive.’ 

Edwards did not disclose any details about Dunn’s death, other than that it was due to complications from coronavirus. 

Louisiana has recorded the fastest growth of new cases in the entire world, with 3,540 infections and 151 deaths as of Monday.  

State officials used Dunn’s death as a tragic example of why it’s important for people to practice social distancing.  

April Dunn (center), a member of the Louisiana governor’s staff, died aged 33 from coronavirus complications on Saturday. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (left) called Dunn ‘an inspiration to everyone who met her’

Dunn served as chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and was a part of the State As A Model Employer Taskforce. She is seen with Gov Edwards in an undated photo

West Michigan University student Bassey Offiong, 25, days after week-long battle with coronavirus 

Bassey Offiong, a 25-year-old from Detroit, died on Saturday after spending a week fighting for his life in the hospital. His family said he had no prior health issues. 

Offiong was only weeks away from graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. 

His sister, Asari Offiong, said her brother told her he had tried to get a coronavirus test several times but was repeatedly turned down by health officials, even though he was suffering from a fever, fatigue and shortness of breath.  

‘I told him to ask them to test him,’ Asari said. ‘He said they refused to test him.’ 

Offiong was hospitalized at Beaumont in Royal Oak last week and was placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit until his death. 

Asari described her ‘baby brother’ as sweet, humble and a ‘gentle giant’. 

‘I know God has him in his presence,’ she said. ‘He loved God.’ 

Offiong dreamt of starting his own organic makeup line with L’Oreal that would enhance women’s beauty, his sister said. 

‘He’s just someone who thinks so big,’ she said.


Bassey Offiong, a 25-year-old from Detroit, died on Saturday after spending a week fighting for his life in the hospital. His sister, Asari Offiong, described her brother as a ‘gentle giant’ who was weeks away from graduating college 

WMU President Edward Montgomery issued a statement about Offiong’s death on Saturday, saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the news.  

‘Bassey was a young man of enormous potential,’ Montgomery said.

‘On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family, including his sister Asari, who has been generous in communicating with us regularly. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.’

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department also issued a statement, saying: ‘Our thoughts are with the student’s family and WMU as they grieve the loss of a loved one.

‘We know this student was not a Kalamazoo County resident; however, this virus has no borders when it comes to who it affects and how it is spread… Stay home and, if you must go out for essential items, stay safe by taking preventative measures.’ 

The department did not address Asari’s allegations that her brother had been refused a test on more than one occasion.  

Former Utah House Speaker Bob Garff dies aged 77 after he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus 

Bob Garff, who served as speaker in Utah’s House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987, died from coronavirus on Sunday. 

The 77-year-old Republican politician and his wife Katherine tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Palm Springs, according to their daughter, Utah Rep Melissa Garff Ballard. 

Garff’s symptoms worsened to the point that he was hospitalized last week and passed away days later. 

‘It was really unexpected,’ Ballard told The Salt Lake Tribune. ‘And my mother is still battling this at home.’

She shared the sad news on Facebook on Sunday, writing: ‘My loving dad passed away peacefully today from COVID-19. He has lived a long and happy life, full of vigor and love for our state and our families.’

Ballard credited her father with inspiring her to get into politics. 

‘My dad lived an amazing life,’ she told the Tribune. ‘He is a giant in our city. And he didn’t care who got the credit for anything that he did.’

Bob Garff, who served as speaker in Utah’s House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987, died from coronavirus on Sunday. The 77-year-old Republican politician and his wife Katherine tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Palm Springs, according to their daughter, Utah Rep Melissa Garff Ballard (pictured with her father)

Garff served in the Utah House for nine years from 1978 to 1987 and was a key organizer of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

Garff, a prolific philanthropist, served in the Utah House for nine years from 1978 to 1987 and was a key organizer of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. 

He was the longtime chairman of the Ken Garff Automotive Group, which his father founded in 1932. 

The company remains one of the biggest car sellers in the state, with dealerships across the US.  

Garff also served in multiple roles within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as bishop and stake president, and was known for his philanthropic endeavors.  

Utah Senator Mitt Romney said he was ‘heartbroken’ to hear of Garff’s passing.  

‘It breaks my heart,’ Romney said. ‘Bob’s contributions to our state, to our economy, and to our church will be heralded by many. But for me, it was his sound and principled leadership as the Chairman of the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 that is most compelling.’  

Health experts warn US death toll will continue to climb as officials scramble to stem the spread of the virus

The US currently leads the world in coronavirus infections with more than 164,000 cases and 3,180 deaths as of Monday, according to public data reviewed by DailyMail.com, though the true number of cases is thought to be considerably higher because of testing shortages and mild illnesses that have gone unreported. 

Seventeen hard-hit states are now in various forms of lockdown as experts say the peak is yet to come and that the current state of crisis will last for another several months, at least. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, warned Sunday that the coronavirus outbreak could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions more.  

Hours later President Donald Trump said that he would consider it a ‘win’ and a ‘very good job’ if he can manage to keep the coronavirus death toll between 100,000 and 200,000, since estimates put it at more than two million if he did nothing.

Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had social distancing measures not been put in place.

And he said the country would be doing well if it ‘can hold’ the number of deaths ‘down to 100,000.’

He said the best case for the country would be for the death rate to peak in about two weeks.

‘It’s a horrible number,’ Trump said, but added, ‘We all together have done a very good job.’

Trump also claimed during his daily press briefing at the White House Sunday evening that the peak of coronavirus is expected to hit in two weeks, even though the death toll in the US doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in just one day.

‘The modeling estimates that the peak is likely to hit in two weeks. So, I’ll say it again: The peak – the highest point of death rates, remember this – is likely to hit in two week,’ Trump said during his remarks in the Rose Garden. ‘Nothing would be worse than declaring before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all.

The president made the comments as he announced that the administration’s coronavirus task force would extend it’s plan to reduce the spread of the disease, adding 30 days on top of the original 15-day schedule.   

President Donald Trump on Sunday said that he would consider it a ‘win’ and a ‘very good job’ if he can manage to keep the coronavirus death toll between 100,000 and 200,000, since estimates put it at more than two million if he did nothing

New York City remains the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak, with 33,786 cases and 776 deaths as of Monday. 

But several other cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and Boston are now being monitored as potential hotspots, threatening to push the overall case count in the US higher and higher.  

‘Every metro area should assume that they will have an outbreak equivalent to New York,’ Dr Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning.   

Birx has previously said that the White House task force anticipates challenges in areas that have not yet seen widespread outbreaks. 

On Sunday she said the Trump administration is working hard to push supplies such as ventilators out to affected areas to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed – as many across the country are already complaining of dangerous shortages. 

‘Hospitals are so busy taking care of the people who are ill, they can’t be spending time doing inventory,’ Birx said. ‘We need to help and support that.’

‘The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation … then we’ll be able to move forward,’ she added. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed similar concern for new hotspots.  

Dr John Brooks, head of the CDC’s Epidemiology Research Team, said that the US is still ‘in the acceleration phase’ of the pandemic and that all corners of the country are at risk.

‘There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,’ he said.

Some experts have said that outbreaks in other parts of the country could be even more devastating than the ones seen in New York City because they are less prepared.    

‘I’m worried that New York might not be the worst-case scenario when you think about other states that have even older and less-healthy populations, and fewer hospital beds available,’ Retsef Levi, a professor of operations management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has developed modeling tools designed to help public officials prepare for the spread of COVID-19, told The Washington Post.   

LA, Chicago and Detroit were expected to take on an influx of new hospital patients as cases increase

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