With a pure human heart, sometimes fate intervenes when you least expect it. Just ask Juan “Eddie” Marte, who has been employed for more than nine years with Southern California Hospital at Culver City. His sojourn to healthcare caregiver was one of loss and heartache.
Marte grew up in New York and was a veteran of the military, but was living in Los Angeles when his mother and brother both became severely ill around the same time; he lost both his brother and his mom in seven weeks’ time.
Unfortunately, he also lost his job due to traveling back and forth to New York to visit his hospitalized family members.
When he returned to Los Angeles, he got more unsettling news. His sister was diagnosed with severe mental illness and was admitted to Southern California Hospital at Culver City.
Devoted to helping his family, Marte came to the hospital every day to visit her. He was staying in a little apartment downtown. He prayed every day for his younger sister—who was like a daughter to him.
A hospital employee who helped care for his sister noticed Marte was coming every day and asked if he was working. Marte explained the situation of losing his job due to his mother and brother’s illness and subsequent passing. The employee told him the hospital had an open position in security and encouraged him to apply.
Marte had background in security from his time in the military, so he was hired immediately.
As Marte would escort patients throughout the hospital, one of the charge nurses noticed how he carried himself and talked with patients. She recommended he apply for a behavioral health technician position because of how well he treated the patients with whom he came in contact.
He didn’t think he was qualified for the job, so he turned it down. Two months later he reconsidered, applied and was appointed to the position. That was nine years ago.
“I treat people how they want to be treated,” says Marte. “Kindness and compassion go a long way.”
Marte now takes care of patients who remind him of the behavioral health struggles his sister endured. His compassion for his sister has made him empathetic to the needs of those with mental health issues.
In his role as a behavioral health technician, Marte helps patients by taking their vital signs and helping with showers, meals and eating. Sometimes he even takes them outside the hospital on approved special trips.
Marte literally knows everyone at Southern California Hospital at Culver City and is known for going out of his way to help other staff and patients.
“Something about this place, it’s amazing—I feel like it is a family,” Marte said. “I look forward to coming here every day. As a matter of fact, I changed my apartment and pay a little bit more to be closer to it. I now live about 15 minutes away.”
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Marte is the father of three children and his 22 year old also works at the hospital.
What makes Marte stay here as long as he has?
“With our new leadership, I have never seen the administration so motivated to move the hospital forward,” Marte pointed out. “This place is the best it has ever been; I love it. “
Marte, who began his healthcare career as a visitor to the hospital, now cares for patients just like his sister with a simple philosophy: “They are not only patients, they are humans with a heart.”
Just like Eddie.