A medical worker has made a heartwarming gesture to reassure and comfort patients with a smile while working on the frontline in San Diego.
Robertino Rodriguez, a respiratory therapist at Scripps Mercy Hospital, was taking care of patients in the ER over the weekend when he came up with the decision to do something to brighten their day.
Like most healthcare workers battling against COVID-19, he felt bad that the people he was treating would only see part of his face covered in personal protective equipment (PPE), with a mask and goggles covering most of i. Because of this, he made a giant laminated badge to wear on top of his PPE.
As a respiratory therapist, Robertino treats patients with acute and chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. His crucial role within the hospital is working in the ‘critical areas’ with the ‘most critical patients’ like the emergency room and ICU.
The laminated badge, which he attached to his chest, shows a picture of himself suited up and smiling. Something that can be described as a change from what his patients would be seeing on a daily basis from each of their doctors. He posted a picture of the badge in action on Instagram, captioned with a heartfelt message urging people to ‘stay home and save lives’.
In his Instagram post, Robertino wrote:
“Yesterday I felt bad for my patients in ER when I would come in the room with my face covered in PPE. A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a scared patient. So today I made a giant laminated badge for my PPE. So my patients can see a reassuring and comforting smile.”
In a statement, Robertino told reporters that he wanted to help ease his patients’ fear.
He said in his statement:
“Since my face is covered by a mask and face shield, my patients can’t see my comforting and reassuring smile during a scary moment in their lives.”
“I will continue to wear [the badge] until I don’t have to wear a mask. More of my colleagues and other healthcare workers are now doing it too and I’m getting photos from other healthcare workers around the country who were inspired by my photo.”
Days after he made the post, it became true!
Other doctors and medical workers from around the world have started making similar badges, putting their smiling faces on their PPE to give a bit of solace to their patients at such a worrying time in their lives.
Robertino said both his patients and colleagues expressed they were ‘touched’ by this simple gesture, adding that indeed, a smile really goes a long way in changing lives.
With this, he said his department remains optimistic as they continue to work on this public health crisis, describing them as a great team and saying they will get through it together.