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Connection in Isolation


This painting is a reflection on my first month of inpatient medicine as a third-year medical student during the peak of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I learned how to decipher lab results, organize patient presentations, and stumble over syllables of treatments like bam-lan-ivi-mab, I also saw the epidemic of isolation and loneliness that the COVID pandemic has exposed. While isolation during sickness is not new, the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID has exacerbated the loneliness patients experience within and outside hospitals. I overheard conversations with family members who could not visit their loved ones fading away on ventilators, having to make unthinkable decisions over the phone. Elderly patients told me how they longed to see their grandchildren or play bridge with their friends, whom they hadn’t seen in months. I learned how important it is to take a few extra moments in a patient’s room to ask them about their lives, what they enjoy filling their time with, where they find community, or squeeze their hands to let them know they are not alone. Because what a profound honor it is to bear witness to a patient’s most vulnerable moments. To simply show up and be present. To offer connection in isolation.

Arielle Moss Arielle Moss (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine


Arielle (she/her) is a fourth-year medical student at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2023 in Indianapolis, IN and is currently taking a gap year to pursue an MPH at the University of North Carolina. Arielle graduated from Indiana University with BAs in biology and Arabic. She enjoys painting, running, hiking, playing music, and spending time with friends and family. After graduating medical school, Arielle would like to pursue a career in OBGYN.