Just before Thanksgiving, Netanya Ortiz (a medical assistant at Baystate Medical Practices – Pioneer Valley Family Medicine) and her fiancé were leaving Baystate Children's Specialty Center. They were headed home after an appointment for their six month old baby. A conversation at the front desk caught Netanya’s ear.
“I heard a lady and the patient representative trying to communicate with each other,” she recalls. The woman behind the desk spoke English, while the patient spoke Spanish. She was carrying her small 27-day-old infant – who was hooked up to cardiac monitoring equipment. The two were trying to talk about a safe ride home for the mother and her child.
Netanya understood Spanish, and realized the mother was saying she had been calling for a ride for some time without answer.
Breaking Down Barriers
Netanya approached and asked if she could help with the conversation. She learned that the woman had just come from the Dominican Republic and was nervous and unsure about other transportation options. As she was far from home and unfamiliar with where she was staying, the woman showed Netanya a letter with her local address on it. Netanya made sure the woman and her baby got home safely and also assisted her with a ride the next day for a follow-up appointment.
“I thought about her that whole night and my heart broke for her,” says Netanya. “Here I am with a healthy baby, we have two cars, I have family and friends who support me – and she was in the complete opposite situation. I could help her, so I did.”
A connection that was "meant to be"
Just before the woman and her baby were to return to the Dominican Republic, Netanya invited them to Thanksgiving with her own family. “She was so happy and the hug she gave me as she was leaving meant everything,” she says. For Netanya, it was a natural reaction. For the new mother she helped - it was everything.
Netanya was happily surprised when she got a thank you letter from the Baystate Children’s Specialty Center for her kindness in assisting a patient in need. “It was meant to be that we both were in the same place in that moment,” she believes. “It happened at Thanksgiving time and it reminded me of the importance of giving to others and that I had a lot more to be thankful for than I realized.”
Did You Know? We Provide Free Interpreter Services
Patients or staff can request an interpreter at any Baystate Health location.