Two Indian-origin doctors, a father and daughter, who died of COVID-19 after contracting the deadly disease while treating infected patients, have been hailed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for their selfless dedication to caring for others.
Murphy said on Thursday that Satyender Dev Khanna and his daughter Priya Khanna “dedicated their lives to helping others and we lost both of them to COVID-19”.
They were part of a family of five doctors and Murphy said of the three survivors. “I hope that the fact that our entire state mourns with them is some small comfort.”
Satyender Khanna was a pioneering doctor and was among the first surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery in New Jersey, the Governor added.
He had worked as head of surgical departments for decades at several hospitals and died at Clara Maass Medical Center where he had worked for more than 35 years, Murphy said.
Satyendra Khanna, 78, graduated from Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi in 1964, according to WebMD.
Murphy said that his colleagues remembered him as “a gentle and caring physician”.
According to Kaiser Health News, Priya Khanna’s sister had put out an appeal on Twitter: “Plasma donor needed urgently for my beautiful young sister who dedicated her life to helping others,” and a donor was found within a day.
But she died on April 13, also at Clara Maass Medical Center, and her father followed her on April 21.
Priya Khanna, 43, was a nephrologist, who had received her medical degree from Kansas City School of Medicine in 2003.
Murphy said that she was the medical director at two dialysis centers and also trained doctors.
He said she was “taking pride in teaching the next generation of doctors. And it should be noted that the ICU (intensive care unit) physician who cared for her was trained and taught by her as well”.
“Priya will be remembered as a caring and selfless person who put others first.”
Murphy said that he had spoken on Thursday morning to Komlish Khanna, the wife of Satyender Khanna, to condole their deaths.
He said that two other daughters of Komlish and Satyender Khanna are also doctors. Sugandha Khanna is an emergency doctor, and Anisha Khanna is a pediatrician.