Dr. Joseph Varon, who takes care of COVID-19 patients at United Memorial Medical Center in Texas, recently went viral after hugging a distraught coronavirus patient in the hospital over the holiday weekend, WFAA reports.
The photo of the hug — snapped by photographer Go Nakamura — has since gone viral.
- “I have never seen anything like that in front of my eye. I thought that was very special and I truly admire the doctor’s compassion and what he does,” Nakamura told KHOU.
Varon said he hugged the patient because of how worrying and depressing the hospital can be.
- “A gentle touch, just telling them they’re going to be OK kind of encourages them,” Dr. Varon told KHOU. “Because, in those units, trust me they get depressed. It’s like being in a jail. Trust me, that’s what it looks like.”
Incredible photo... Texas medic Dr. Joseph Varon hugging a vulnerable, lonely, elderly coronavirus patient who missed his wife on Thanksgiving Day.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 30, 2020
Dr Varon was working his 256th consecutive day of the pandemic. Yes..you read that right..256.
(pic Go Nakamura @GettyImages) pic.twitter.com/da5Dk2ZbAr
"I do this day in and day out, and people are out there doing the wrong thing. ... in bars, restaurants, malls — it is crazy — it's like we work, work, work, work, work and people don't listen and then they end up in my ICU," Dr. Joseph Varon says. https://t.co/IZZB87GzQg— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2020
Varon has worked 256 days straight with COVID-19 patients, according to WFAA.
- “Unfortunately, I can’t take any days off because there’s nobody else that will do what I’m doing,” Varon told KHOU. “I see passion for caring for patients. I see myself. I truly see myself in the sense that this is what I was meant to do.”
Varon recently told CNN he doesn’t want to be put in this situation, hugging sick patients. He reminded the public to stay socially distant and safe during these trying times so that you don’t end up in the ICU.
- “What people need to know is that — I don’t want to have to be hugging them. They need to do the basic things: keep your social distance; wear your mask; wash your hands and avoid going to places where there are a lot of people. Very simple. If people can do that health care workers like me will be able to — hopefully rest.”