SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — There is an urgent plea from local doctors with close ties to India for donations and aid for the country as it suffers from a high spike in COVID-19 cases.
The COVID-19 crisis in India, where thousands of people are dying every day, hits close to home for several doctors in the Sutter Health system.
“A lot of those people are not just numbers, they are our family, they are our friends. That’s what makes it so personal,” said Dr. Manoj Mittal.
Dr. Mittal’s father was hit by COVID-19 and struggled to survive.
“There was no oxygen available, there was no medications available,” he explained. “It was horrifying to us.”
Just about every Indian American with ties to India have stories of fear, frustration and death.
“Our physician friends, their families are affected. Our friends from medical school, from high school, they are getting affected,” said Dr. Disha Mittal.
Communication with friends and family in India reveals anger at a government unprepared for the spike, along with fear.
“They’re scared because they’re seeing their family members dying in front of them, and they are also feeling miserable because they can’t help them,” Dr. Manoj Mittal told FOX40.
The frustration for Indian doctors at Sutter Health is magnified by the fact that many of them have been treating COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and, in some cases, tragically watching them die without having the benefit of loved ones and friends at their side.
“That’s why it’s so personal to us because we went through it and we can visualize how bad the situation is in India,” said Dr. Prabjit Singh.
That’s why a fundraising drive is being championed by the nonprofit United Visions International, which was created by the doctors.
They are working with a team of physicians to get monetary and equipment donations directly to nonprofits in New Delhi without going through the government.
They also want public support for more U.S. government assistance to India, saying everyone should be concerned about fighting a global problem.
“The scale of this tragedy is unlimited, so each one of us can make a difference,” Dr. Disha Mittal said.