Dr. Tapti Panda and Dr. Rajan Subbaiah are a physician couple in the New York area. Dr. Subbaiah, being a pulmonologist, was a first-hand witness as well as a frontline warrior against the first wave of COVID mayhem witnessed in that city, last year.
Recently, as the news from India started streaming in about rising COVID-related cases and morbidity, they felt compelled to respond in other ways since having a young family and professional commitments prevented them from taking an active role in directly caring for patients overseas.
Tapti, an obg-gyn laparoscopic surgeon and Rajan, a pulmonary critical care specialist, were especially worried about the lack of adequate capacity to meet the rising demand for oxygen in her home state of Odisha. Since they had many doctor friends in Odisha as well as in states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, they decided to start a fundraiser to buy oxygen concentrators and ship them to these places.
Such concentrators are especially valuable for patients moderately ill and requiring oxygen supplementation, but do not yet need ICU care. Keeping such patients away from the ICUs would help in freeing up space and allow prioritization for critically ill patients. Also, planning the use on recovering patients that maybe looking at going home and using ok trials at Hospitals enables freeing beds easier and patients continue the rest of their recovery at home.
Together with ACT foundation of USA, they started a crowd funding campaign called Breathe India that has raised over 67,000 USD till date.
Working with the Rashtriya Prabasi Odisha Parivar, a charitable NGO made primarily of expats from the state of Odisha, the campaign has managed to send over 130 oxygen concentrators to grass roots groups providing free or affordable care to patients.
Ammucare volunteers at Chennai helped with the distribution of 8 oxygen concentrators of 5L capacity at Arun covid care hospital.
Kudos to both Dr. Tapti and Dr. Rajan as well as ACT Foundation and Ammucare team for making this happen.