Health Care Worker Covered in Protective Gear Laminates Smile on Chest to Comfort Patients

Some people wear their heart on their sleeve – but this San Diego health care worker wears his smile on his chest

Robertino Rodriguez wearing a smile on his chest

Face mask, face shield, goggles, isolation gown and gloves. This is just the start to the barrier between medical workers and patients diagnosed with COVID-19. And while these materials are imperative to ensure the safety of everyone involved, it can be quite scary for patients to never really see the people treating them.

That’s why one respiratory therapist made a special name tag to spread some comfort and joy.

Robertino Rodriguez works at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California. He puts on his personal protective equipment, known as PPE, like any other health care professional – except on the outside of his isolation gown is a special laminated badge.

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

His giant badge lists his first name and job title in big, bold letters. And underneath, is a smiling picture of the respiratory therapist.

"So my patients can see a reassuring and comforting smile," he continued.

Rodriguez posted a picture of the get-up to his Instagram page, amassing more than 10,000 likes in just two days. More than 1,000 users also commented, writing thank yous, well wishes and many, many heart emojis.

Since the outbreak began, there has been more than 1,400 COVID-19 cases in San Diego County. Roughly 18% of those who test positive for the novel coronavirus require hospitalization, according to data released by the county in early April.

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