A Lehigh Valley physician is helping people sick with COVID-19 in India, as the nation is faced with a drastic second wave of the virus.
Dr. Ranju Gupta, a hematologist and medical oncologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network, said the last few weeks have been difficult. She's watched news accounts and talked to family about the crisis.
"A lot of my family members are affected by COVID, the situation is very dire," Gupta said.
Some of Gupta's family members in India, including her niece, have been among the sick.
"She needed hospitalization," Gupta said. "I had to spend about six hours using every contact I had in Dehli to get her hospitalized."
Dr. Gupta and her husband did the same thing for other family and friends in India. On Monday night they were up until 2 a.m. trying to get a bed for a 33-year-old.
Thankfully, her niece was discharged from the hospital Tuesday, but other family members are still sick.
"Five of them are very sick. Two are hospitalized. Three we are monitoring very closely at home," Dr. Gupta said of her uncle's family.
Dr. Gupta was born and raised in India and went to medical school in India. She said watching COVID's impact from afar has been gut wrenching. Hospitals are overwhelmed and makeshift mass cremation sites have been set up for those who've died.
"There's a feeling of obviously sadness. I can't even tell you, these last two weeks have been so traumatic for all of us," Gupta said. "There's a feeling of guilt. I trained in India. This is a time I should be there."
But Gupta is doing everything she can to help from afar. In addition to helping people find hospital beds, she is helping local efforts to raise money to buy necessary supplies and medications that are in short supply and high demand.
She's also urging people not to let their guard down, to mask up, and stay vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.