Hispanic Heritage Month: AdventHealth doctors use language to save lives in Osceola County

Video: Hispanic Heritage Month: AdventHealth doctors use language to save lives in Osceola County

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — To celebrate the start of Hispanic Heritage Month on Tuesday, Channel 9 will be spotlighting members of the community over the coming weeks who have done extraordinary work during the coronavirus pandemic.

They are the doctors on the front lines who’ve worked double duty, serving two communities in two languages and keeping us all safe.

Quiz: What do you know about Hispanic Heritage Month?

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Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez introduces us to the man in charge of the emergency room at AdventHealth Celebration.

In the fight against COVID-19, Dr. Ramon Nunez used his skills as an experienced physician.

But he also used the tool he’s carried close to his heart since he was a kid - his language.

He is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, who ran a bodega in New York.

Nunez is the youngest of nine children, whose favorite destination as a kid was the library.

He is now the director of the Emergency Department at AdventHealth Celebration.

The job put him on the front lines of the pandemic in Osceola County, where more than 50% of the population is Hispanic.

“A large part of what we do happens outside of the hospital,” Dr. Nunez said. “In order for that to happen the patient has to be your partner.”

Dr. Nunez said when that patient is sick and scared, connecting on a cultural level in their native language is a critical part of their care.

During the pandemic, effective communication played a role in controlling the spread of the virus.

“That’s why meeting people where they are and being able to communicate effectively plays such a large role,” Dr. Nunez said.

Like so many in the health community, his role has been full of challenges, like time spent in isolation to ensure his family wasn’t exposed to the virus.

This was a sacrifice for the job and the community he’s devoted to.

Dr. Nunez called 2020 the most challenging year of his career and his life.