An elderly COVID-19 patient who was pictured being consoled by a hero doctor is now recovering and due to return home in the next two days.
The picture of the man being cradled by Dr Joseph Varon at the United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, went viral as Varon spoke of working for 258 days straight in the ward.
Varon said he did not realise the photo was being taken as he cradled the patient, who said he was missing his wife.
Speaking about seeing the elderly man, Varon told Good Morning Britain: “It’s one of those things – you’re walking in the hallway and suddenly you see this man crying, alone, feeling desperate more intensely than anyone else I've ever seen.
‘You see this man crying, alone and feeling desperate more intensely than I’d ever seen and he tells you all he wants to do is see his wife.’
Dr Joseph Varon tells the powerful story behind a photo of him hugging an elderly Covid-19 patient.@piersmorgan | @susannareid100 pic.twitter.com/TuJkHccUlM
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 2, 2020
“And when you talk to him he tells you, ‘I want be with my wife.’”
“All of us would just go and hold the man, that's what I did. I felt so bad for him that I sat with him until he relaxed.
“I could understand because I see this day in and day out and so do all the healthcare providers that work taking care of patients with COVID.”
Varon previous spoke of how COVID patients on his ward were battling both the disease and isolation and that the patient photographed eventually felt better and stopped crying.
He told CNN: "It's very difficult. You can imagine. You are inside a room where people come in in 'spacesuits' and you have no communication with anybody else, only by phone if you're lucky.
“I mean it's very difficult and when you are an elderly individual it's even more difficult because you feel that you are alone. You feel isolated."
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He added: "I will go into their rooms; I will sit on their bed and chat with them because they truly need somebody to give them a hand.”
Varon, who has now worked for 258 days nonstop during the coronavirus pandemic so far, urged people to keep up with social distancing measures to help reduce hospital numbers.
He said: "I do this day in and day out and people are out there doing the wrong thing…
"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 careworkers like me will be able to – hopefully – rest.”
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