SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, June 10, Karma Quick-Panwala gave birth to her second-born son Axel, with help of clear masks and face shields utilized by the hospital staff at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Hospital.

Quick-Panwala worried about the communication aspect while giving birth due to her inability to hear well, which led her to communicate to the staff about her concerns.

“I have to read lips to understand speech. It’s imperative,” she states.

During the coronavirus pandemic, face masks have been a prominent key to stop further spread of the virus. It has generated some challenges in the healthcare field, including the difficulties of communicating with doctors and nurses.

“The entire nursing staff was humbled. We took for granted how difficult the crisis is for those who rely on lipreading,” said Amy McColley, manager of labor and delivery at CPMC.

FaceView mask is currently being developed by San Francisco registered nurse Jeanne Hahne, which is becoming more widely recognized by the public and medical staff. The transparent panel in the mask allows the speaker’s mouth to be visible. People with hearing loss, similar to Quick-Panwala, often rely on lip reading, requiring the visual feedback which can be achievable with this mask.

“The patient is more compliant when they feel the caregiver is genuine and empathetic and cares about them,” Hahne said. “The lack of communication or miscommunication is one that can cause serious medical problems.”