WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Friends and colleagues of a beloved Palm Beach County doctor are mourning his recent death from COVID-19.
Dr. Roman Peña, a pediatric intensive care physician who worked at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, died from the coronavirus Monday.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
A statement from KIDZ Medical Services said Peña was a valued member of their staff since 2008. He also worked at Lakeside Medical Center and Bethesda Hospital East.
"He was not only a colleague but a good friend, and he was a mentor to many in our group. He will be missed, but never forgotten," said Dr. Jorge E. Perez, co-founder of KIDZ Medical.
"Dr. Pena was instrumental in advancing pediatric care for the children of Palm Beach County. It has been my honor to be his friend and colleague," said Dr. Albert Tano, co-founder of KIDZ Medical. "His untimely passing is a deep loss for our community."
Dr. J.C. Roig, a former colleague and friend of Peña, said Tuesday he learned about his friend's death Monday night.
He said he started working with Peña 25 years ago in the intensive care unit at St. Mary's Medical Center.
"When it's a friend that you're so close to ... that you've worked with and known him in the same kind of stress and exposure, it really hits home," Roig said.
Roig said coronavirus is a "silent killer" and called Peña's death a "huge loss to the pediatric community."
"You don't know where the exposure is going to come from. I'm sure everybody is being careful these days, but there's probably never going to be a situation where you're careful enough," Roig said.
In addition to practicing medicine in Palm Beach County, Peña also worked across South Florida for decades.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County released the following statement Tuesday on Peña's death:
The medical professionals and staff at Lakeside Medical Center, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s teaching hospital in Belle Glade, are grieving the loss of a well-respected pediatrician and dedicated member of our hospital family. We extend our deep sympathy to Dr. Roman Pena’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.