A doctor in New York celebrated her birthday by executing a special deed for COVID-19 patients who may be recovering or dying in isolation.
Dr. Ee Tay, chief of the pediatric ER at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, learned from her colleagues that those who have passed away from COVID-19 had no means to communicate to the outside world, reports People.
According to Dr. Tay, restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the virus prevent friends or family members from visiting their loved ones in the hospital.
“To have that support, and know that your family is near and thinking of you, I think that’s really important for recovery,” Dr. Tay was quoted as saying. “And [to know] that you’re not alone or you’re not dying alone.”
Dr. Tay explained that being able to communicate with the outside world is important as a form of closure for both the patients and their loved ones.
“Since you can’t have somebody physically being there, this is the next best thing,” she tells People. “Even though the patients can’t necessarily speak to the family members, the family members [can] perhaps bid them goodbye and [send] well wishes and words of comfort during that time.”
This prompted her to look online to find tablets that patients could use for video chatting with their loved ones. Dr. Tay launched her plea on social media over a week before her birthday on April 8. With some help from Bank of New York Mellon, Dr. Tay was able to donate about 650 tablets to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, including Bellevue Hospital as well as other local hospitals.
When Dr. Tay first made the call for donations on Facebook with the initial goal of 150 tablets, her friends helped her collect an assortment of 50 new and used iPads and Amazon Kindles.
The Bank of New York Mellon eventually donated 600 additional tablets after learning about the initiative from Tay’s friend. From the donation, 150 went to Bellevue, and 60 each went to Elmhurst and Jacobi.
Dr. Tay wants to donate the leftover tablets to other public hospitals and nursing homes in the city as well as some families in poor communities. She is looking into providing more assistance to “underrepresented” immigrants with hospitalized loved ones so they can communicate from home.
Dr. Tay noted that these people “rely on jobs currently that are not there, and they can’t pay their bills.”
“A lot don’t have access to WiFi or a tablet. If they have an inability to have access to any of these devices, I am hoping the ones that I have collected from my network will be able to help and assist them,” she added.
Feature Image via ee.tay