Long Island doctor helps patients, physicians in India via telemedicine

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- A local doctor is helping patients and physicians in his native India by conducting telemedicine appointments from Long Island.

Dr. Abhay Malhotra is the Chief of Cardiology at St. Charles Hospital and has been trying to help India with its second wave of the coronavirus by assessing patients over Zoom and the phone.

"It's like a team effort," Malhotra said. "We all should try to help as much as we can on humanitarian grounds."

Malhotra said the goal is to help patients with minor symptoms treat themselves at home rather than go to the hospitals, many of which do not have enough beds.

Malhotra said he advises patients who feel ill to isolate themselves, hydrate and take Tylenol for any fever.

Malhotra is also advising physicians in India because, "we went through the same phase last year," he said.

He said he is advising doctors there on new medications, new guidelines, how to set up hospital settings and ICU beds and when to tell patients to come to the hospital.

A double mutated strain of the coronavirus has made India's second wave exceptionally deadly. In the last two months, it's killed approximately 170,000 people.

Less than 5% of the population has been given two vaccine doses.

Malhotra is also President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origins of Queens and Long Island.

The group has been organizing getting PPE, medications and ventilators to India. He said members of the group are now trying to raise money to help hospitals in India purchase ambulances so they can go to rural areas to help COVID patients.

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Ashu Mahajan had traveled to India to care for his sick father -- who later died due to COVID -- but couldn't return to the U.S. because the consulate was closed.

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