The human toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially apparent to Heidi Prieur, FNP, a nurse practitioner in Beverly Hospital’s Emergency Department. She has spent weeks treating critically ill patients whose families can’t visit them due to the visitor restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus. Heidi decided to harness the power of social media, hoping a big company would step in to donate tablets to Beverly Hospital so patients could make video calls in lieu of visiting. “It is heartbreaking to see someone die alone, without having the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ or one last ‘I love you,’” Heidi wrote on Facebook. “I don’t want our patients to die alone.”
Her post didn’t reach a big company, but it did reach Noah Hano, who stepped up to help. “If I was in a similar position and I couldn’t say goodbye to my mother, father, brother, sister… I’m not sure how I’d get over that,” Noah said. That empathy is what drove him to buy seven tablets for Beverly’s ED.
Before delivering them, Noah installed video messaging software onto every single device. “It was no small feat,” he said with a laugh.
For the Wenham resident, this gift was personal. His three daughters were all born at Beverly Hospital. His fiancée’s two daughters were born there, too.
Heidi was touched by the note Noah left with the tablets, which thanked the staff at the Beverly ED for their hard work in the face of this public health emergency. It hit home because her own father had been sick with COVID-19 and she couldn’t go see him. “You want to tell your family members, ‘I love you, I want to be there, but I can’t,’” she explained. “People are dying alone. As healthcare providers, we want to help them as best we can.”
The response on social media was so overwhelming, Noah started raising money to buy tablets for other hospitals, including Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, which is also a member of Beth Israel Lahey Health. “Being able to make that final connection and say whatever you want to say to that person is an important part of mourning,” Noah said.