Image of doctor comforting Covid patient in Texas hospital goes viral
"I ask him, 'Why are you crying?'"
An image of a doctor comforting a Covid-19 patient in hospital has gone viral.
Dr Joseph Varon was treating coronavirus patients at a Texas hospital on Thanksgiving when he spotted an elderly patient trying to get out of his room.
Dr Varon, chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, approached the patient and saw that he was sobbing. Comforting the man, he asked: 'Why are you crying?'"
"And the man says, 'I want to be with my wife.' So I just grab him and I hold him," he told CNN. "I was feeling very sorry for him. I was feeling very sad, just like him."
"Eventually he felt better and he stopped crying."
Dr Varon, who had been working his 252nd consecutive day on the Covid ward, said that despite the pain and heartache he has been witnessing during his work, he has surprised himself by how he has coped.
Clad head to toe in PPE, he took the man in his arms as photographer Go Nakamura captured the moment that would soon go viral.
"I don't know why I haven't broken down," said Dr Varon. "My nurses cry in the middle of the day. 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."
The image of Dr Varon and the patient was taken by Nakamura for Getty Images. It has since travelled across the globe as further representation of the harsh realities of Covid-19.
The photographer shared the image on his Facebook first, saying: "I am grateful to witness a wonderful moment and I thank all the medical staffs for their hard work even during the holiday season."
Texas recorded an additional 15,950 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 1,243,385. There have been 21,975 recorded deaths statewide.