Lehigh Valley

Immigrant a volunteer 'voice' for hospital's patients

A Syrian immigrant has found what she calls her second home with the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Luz Cruz is a social worker, and Nisreen Saadia is the medical interpreter.

"It's a big plus to have them with us," said Cruz, a social worker with the health network.

"I believe I am like the voice of the patient," Saadia said.

Saadia, an immigrant from the war-torn country of Syria, came to the United States in 2013. Now every day, she is either making house calls or working at the hospital translating for Arabic-speaking patients, and she does it all for free. She is a volunteer for the hospital.

"Helping. That's the main purpose in my life, not just working for earning money. Helping people. That's the main purpose," said Saadia.

It's a purpose an Allentown family appreciates.

"My mom, she don't understand anything. She always say, 'Tell me what they say,' and it's hard for me to just try to translate for her and at the same time listen to what the person says," said Nuha Nasheiwat, the daughter of an Arabic-speaking patient.

"I feel like the patients are like my kids, I'm taking care of them," said Saadia.

The work gives the Syrian immigrant a newfound purpose in the United States.

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