“Hello! Hola! Cómo estás?” I ask, peering into the eyes of my patient’s concerned adult children.
“Muy bien, Bridget.” “Gracias.” “How is Mamacita today?”
I have never met this family, but in the dozen or so video calls that we have had during the past month, I have gotten to know them. I recognize their dining rooms, I know the names of their spouses and children who sometimes make appearances — and they know the limits of my Spanish. Their faces shuffle across the screen of my iPad as they take turns talking to their mother, the patient whose hand I hold. COVID-19 brutalizes bodies, but it also disempowers families who are unable to see their loved ones, sit at their bedsides and hold their hands.
Most of the families that I have supported over the past three months have been people of color. Their first language is often Spanish or Creole. At the teaching hospital where I work, physicians rotate through the ICU, so families often wonder if their loved ones are receiving as good care this week as they did the last. I assure them they are.”
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