Photo of Texas doctor comforting elderly Covid patient goes viral | Inquirer News
Close  

Photo of Texas doctor comforting elderly Covid patient goes viral

/ 08:26 AM December 01, 2020

Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (AFP)

WASHINGTON–Joseph Varon, a doctor treating coronavirus patients at a Texas hospital, was working his 252nd day in a row when he spotted a distraught elderly man in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU).

Varon’s comforting embrace of the white-haired man on Thanksgiving Day was captured by a photographer for Getty Images and has gone viral around the world.

ADVERTISEMENT

Varon, chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, told CNN he was entering the Covid ICU when he saw the elderly patient “out of his bed and trying to get out of the room.”

“And he’s crying,” Varon said. “So I get close to him and I (ask) him, ‘Why are you crying?'”

FEATURED STORIES

“And the man says, ‘I want to be with my wife.’ So I just grab him and I hold him,” Varon said. “I was feeling very sorry for him. I was feeling very sad, just like him.”

“Eventually he felt better and he stopped crying,” Varon told CNN on Monday, which he said was his 256th consecutive day of work.

“I don’t know why I haven’t broken down,” the doctor said. “My nurses cry in the middle of the day.”

Dr. Joseph Varon comforts a COVID-19 patient. (AFP)

Varon said the isolation of the Covid unit was difficult for many patients, particularly the elderly.

“You can imagine,” he said. “You are inside a room where people are coming in spacesuits.

“When you are an elderly individual, it’s more difficult because you are alone,” he said.

“Some of them cry. Some of them try to escape,” he said. “We actually had somebody who tried to escape through a window the other day.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Varon said the elderly man in the picture is “doing much better.”

“We are hoping that before the end of the week he’ll be able to get out of the hospital,” he said.

Varon also had a message for people who are not taking precautions amid the pandemic.

“People are out there in bars, restaurants, malls,” the doctor said. “It is crazy. People don’t listen and then they end up in my ICU.

“What people need to know is I don’t want to have to be hugging them.

“They need to do the basic things — keep your social distance, wear your masks, wash their hands, and avoid going to places where there are a lot of people,” he said. “If people would do that, healthcare workers like me could hopefully rest.”

Dr. Joseph Varon talks to a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit. (AFP)

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2019 coronavirus disease, Coronavirus, COVID-19, doctor, ICU, Joseph Varon, United Memorial Medical Center, Viral Photo
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.