Coronavirus: San Diego health care worker puts smile on patients’ faces with laminated badge

SAN DIEGO — Medical workers are being extra careful during the coronavirus pandemic, wearing plenty of protective gear. But the sight of a worker hidden behind a face mask, goggles, gloves, face shields and isolation gowns can be impersonal and intimidating.

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A respiratory therapist in San Diego is trying to change that. Robertino Rodriguez is still covered head to toe in personal protective equipment, but he laminated a badge on his gown that shows his smiling face, KNSD reported.

“I felt bad for my patients in ER when I would come in the room with my face covered in PPE," Rodriguez, who works at Scripps Mercy Hospital, wrote in an Instagram post. “A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a scared patient.”

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Rodriguez’s large badge lists his first name and job title in large letters, KNSD reported. Beneath the print is a photo of Rodriguez, smiling broadly.

“So my patients can see a reassuring and comforting smile,” Rodriguez wrote on Instagram.

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Since Rodriguez posted his working uniform and laminated badge on social media, his Instagram post has received more than 15,000 likes.

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Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, there have been more than 1,400 cases in San Diego County, KNSD reported. And while grim totals continue to rise, nervous San Diego patients can at least be comforted by Rodriguez’s cheery smile.

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