‘He was just crying’: Doctor hugs COVID-19 patient who was missing wife on Thanksgiving

Coronavirus

Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 1,220,000 cases, including over 21,500 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

A photo of a Houston doctor hugging a distressed patient in a COVID-19 ICU unit on Thanksgiving has gone viral.

The photo of Dr. Joseph Varon, who is shown wearing full PPE, was taken by photographer Go Nakamura at United Memorial Medical Care on Nov. 26.

Varon told CNN it happened after he noticed the man was out of bed, crying and trying to get out of his room.

“He said he wants to be with wife,” Varon told CNN. “I grabbed him, I hold him. He was just crying and eventually he felt better and he stopped crying.”

In a Facebook post, Nakamura said: “Dr Joseph Varon comforts a patient with coronavirus disease. I am grateful to witness a wonderful moment and I thank all the medical staffs for their hard work even during the holiday season.”

Good Morning America reports that Thanksgiving was Varon’s 252nd consecutive day of work.

“He was very sad because he’s in a room where he knows nobody,” Varon told Good Morning America. “We come in dressed like astronauts, and even though I usually have my picture with me so they can know who I am when I go to see them, it’s very frustrating for the patients, and he was very emotional. And just when I heard [his emotion], I hugged him.”

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