BOSTON — Dr. Kathy May Tran is looking for help to keep coronavirus patients connected to their loved ones.
Tran, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, is looking for donations of cellphone chargers so that patients can always stay connected with their families in stressful times.
“Lucky patients are the ones who can talk. They communicate with friends and family using landline phones provided in each room. However, when my patients are afraid and getting sicker, they yearn to SEE their child, grandchild, or the love of their life,” Tran said in a post on Instagram.
Cellphones “allow just that,” Tran said.
“Cell phones also allow for texting,” said Tran, who noted a news article that mentioned that a New York patient sent his goodbyes to his family members via text because of his inability to breathe.
Cellphone chargers are needed because, during this crisis, not every patient has one on hand while in the hospital to use.
“The dread of the dwindling battery meter - initially green, then red, warning 5%, then screen black - means loss of contact with those who matter most,” Tran said. “It’s terrifying. Last week, my patient continued to hold her cell phone to her chest - even though it shut down days ago."
Tran now calls cellphone chargers “a lifeline” for patients since their loved ones often cannot visit them.
“Firsthand, it’s a painful and cruel thing to say to family of a critically ill person, ‘No. I cannot allow you to visit.’ These moments are among the worst I’ve felt as a doctor. The result? Painful separations between loved ones. Difficult conversations over the phone, instead of face-to-face. Lonely deaths. Guilt and regret,” Tran said.
If you’d like to donate a cellphone charger to Massachusetts General Hospital patients, send them to:
Hospital Medicine Unit
c/o Dr. Kathy May Tran
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tran said you can also contact your local hospital to see if they have a need for cellphone chargers.
“Thank you for helping,” she said.
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