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Music Therapy Helps MGH Doctors Cope With COVID Trauma

BOSTON (CBS) - It's true that not all heroes wear capes. Mass General doctors Hemal Sampat and Kathy Tran wear scrubs.

"We have seen COVID every single day. We've had to deal with the hurt that patients and families have felt. Honestly it's traumatizing," said Dr. Tran

How do they cope? Their friend and colleague Dr. Lisa Wong had a great idea. Use music as medicine. Music lessons as therapy. Dr. Wong helped to organize the Boston Hope Music Teaching Project.

"I always go to music to find myself again," explained Dr. Wong.

Boston Hope Music connects Boston-area teaching artists with caregivers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Students at the New England Conservatory, like Luther Warren, give music lessons to the doctors to give them a needed distraction from the terrible things they are seeing at the hospital. "Normally I would be playing concerts, but our professional field disappeared overnight," Warren said.

Dr. Tran is one of Warren's students. He's helping her perfect the viola. But for Tran it's not just a music lesson. It's so much more meaningful.

"I think for me during the pandemic, it's been a saving grace," Tran said. "It really has. It's been a way that I've been able to cope, get comfort and heal."

Dr. Sampat has been learning piano. "I get home now and I want to go to that piano and I want to play it. I have my hands on the piano and my mind is focused on that and it's not focused on what's going on in the world around me."

And for the teachers, it's hugely rewarding. "To be able to contribute to the pandemic response and to care for these people was just so powerful," said Luther Warren.

"We still have a job to do- a duty to do- but the music is giving us an energy to do our job."

The program was supposed to run for six weeks this past fall. But, Boston Hope Music was so popular it has been extended through the spring.

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