iGlobal Tribute Series 2: The NHS Frontline Warriors from India

iGlobal Tribute Series 2: The NHS Frontline Warriors from India

In this second instalment of a two-part special series, iGlobal? pays tribute to the medics and clinicians from India who have lost their lives while battling coronavirus and trying to save others on the National Health Service (NHS) frontline.

As the debate around firmer action to tackle the higher Covid-19 risk faced by ethnic minority key workers rages on, these names are a stark reminder of why the recent Public Health England (PHE) review must urgently be taken forward to throw up recommendations to tackle health inequalities in the UK.

(In alphabetical order)

Prem Lal

Prem Lal worked as an Associate Practitioner in Histopathology at Wexham Park Hospital in Berkshire. She is remembered as a mother figure? at the hospital, where she died after being treated by colleagues in the intensive care unit. Prem was described by her NHS Trust as a dedicated, highly valued and respected? colleague, who was popular with her teammates.

Kamlesh Kumar Masson

Dr Masson, a GP in South Essex for more than three decades, is remembered as an honest, kind and generous man who was deeply respected?. The 78-year-old completed his medical training in India and also worked as a doctor in East Africa.

In 1985, he founded Milton Road Surgery, where he worked until 2017, before going on to locum work across Thurrock and Basildon. His family described him as an excellent clinician? with a drive to constantly improve his clinical skills and knowledge with passion and enthusiasm. Dr Masson was well-known locally and recognised as a dedicated, determined, positive? individual, who would always do his utmost to help in all endeavours.

Poornima Nair

Dr Nair, 56, originally from Kerala in India, came to the UK in 1994 and followed her dream of becoming a doctor. She was a GP at Bishop Auckland, County Durham, and is described by colleagues as someone whose heart was with the NHS and her patients?. An online fundraiser set up in her memory to raise 2,000 for the ITU at the University Hospital of North Tees & Hartlepool, where Dr Nair lost her battle with coronavirus, has raised over 13,000.

Hamza Pacheeri

Dr Pacheeri, an 80-year-old gynaecologist, had a long career with the NHS, having worked in several hospitals across the UK. A native of Perinthalmanna in Kerala, southern India, he graduated in the second batch from Government Medical College, Kozhikode, and was a mentor to many young medical graduates who came to work in the UK from Kerala. The Birmingham-based medic was practising as a locum at the time of his death.

Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel

As a locum pharmacist, Jayesh is remembered as a dedicated? professional who served his local community. The 53-year-old, who studied pharmacy at Sunderland University, died at Epsom General Hospital in Surrey in April. He was a humble, simple person who liked the simple things in life. He was warm, approachable and yet a man of principle, said his brother-in-law Bharat Patel.

Mehool H. Patel

Pharmacist Mehool Patel, 48, owned and ran community pharmacy Bliss Chemist in Kilburn, north London. He is described by friends as one in a million?, who would do anything for his patients. Mehool, a father of two, died from coronavirus after battling the disease for more than a month in hospital. His wife Arpeeta paid tribute to her late husband as a true NHS hero?, who continued to work because he wanted to help his patients.

Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran

Anujkumar, 44, worked as a staff nurse at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, where he passed away in April. Described as a beautiful soul? who was passionate about his job, Anuj chose to carry on working despite his underlying health conditions, refusing to stay at home during the crisis. His colleagues and friends remember him as dedicated?, ambitious? and caring?. The United Lincolnshire's Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) said it was "deeply saddened" by his death.

Jitendra Rathod

Dr Rathod, one of Wales? leading heart surgeons, was an Associate Specialist in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he spent 25 years. He was among the first Indian-origin doctors to die of Covid-19 on the NHS frontline back in early April.
He is remembered as an "incredibly dedicated surgeon", who cared deeply for his patients and was highly regarded in the medical profession in Wales. Fondly known as Jitu, Dr Rathod had studied for his medical degree in India. The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board described him as a very compassionate and a wonderful human being?, whose commitment to the hospital's special facility had been exemplary?.

Manjeet Singh Riyat

The UK's first Sikh accident and emergency (A&E) consultant, Dr Riyat died at the age of 52 at Royal Derby Hospital in the East Midlands, where he worked. He was well-loved? by his colleagues, who described him as the hugely respected? father of their emergency team.
He joined the Royal Derby in 2003 and in 2006, Dr Riyat became head of service for the hospital's emergency department and had been a chair for both the medical advisory and medical staffing committees. His passion for teaching and contribution to medical education was said to be a constant thread during his career. It was clear that he was an outstanding emergency medicine doctor and generations of families in this region have benefitted from the care he provided, said Dr Kathy McLean, Chair of the NHS University Hospitals of Debry and Burton Trust.

Pooja Sharma

Pooja Sharma, 33, worked as a pharmacist at Eastbourne District General Hospital. Her brother Aman described her as the 'superstar of the family?. She died on March 26, a day after her father Sudhir both victims of Covid-19.
Pooja's colleagues and friends remember her as a really special person who wore her heart on her sleeve?, adding that her honesty, liveliness, loving sense of humour and bubbly personality touched many lives.

Vivek Sharma

Occupational therapist Vivek Sharma died aged 58. The hugely regarded therapist had been working for Medway Community Healthcare in Kent as Clinical Falls Lead and is remembered as someone always happy to help and passionate about being an advocate for fellow colleagues. Colleagues describe him as generous?, a gentleman? and a gentle soul? who will be missed.
*If you would like to share a personal tribute to a Global Indian NHS key worker, please get in touch through our Facebook/ Instagram/Twitter. Part 1 of the Tribute Series here
by Preeti Bali

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