#MyMaskMyStory: “We were scared to even come into the room with the patient”

Northwest  |  September 16, 2020
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Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.

Edited by Dilber Shatursun

“I am Dr. Hien Nguyen, and I am an emergency room doctor at a local community hospital in San Jose. With the pandemic, things are [seen] in a different light. We’ve come to realize that every particular patient that we see potentially can have a disease that can be transmitted to us, and can make us very, very sick, and can make other patients very, very sick.”

“We were really really scared. So we were all starting to figure out ‘my gosh, what do we do?’ So it got to the point where we were scared to even come into the room with the patient. When we started seeing our first patient, within two weeks, we were almost out of PPE.”

“One of your members started bringing in surgical caps and masks for us, and we actually used it and we really appreciated it because it actually kept us safe as well, and we were able to cover up when we see COVID patients in particular. It actually made us feel like we were thought of, we were cared for, and we were supported and it was really meaningful to us. It meant a lot.”

Dr. Hien Nguyen is an attending physician of the emergency department of the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center in San Jose, CA. She is the inventor of the HienT particulate barrier, a clear plastic enclosure designed to minimize a healthcare worker’s risk of contracting COVID-19 from their infected patients. Dr. Nguyen has trained and is currently working with Tzu Chi Northwest volunteers to build more. Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to support healthcare heroes through our Together While Apart fundraiser.

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