Penn Medicine physician raises $500K to aid India's COVID-19 crisis

In just one week, Ruchika Talwar, MD, urologic surgery resident at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, raised nearly $500,000 to send India's hospitals supplies as the country battles the world's worst COVID-19 outbreak, CNN reported May 6. 

It all started with a tweet and email to 30 friends and family members last week. Dr. Talwar, her mother and some friends set out with a more modest goal of sending 50 oxygen concentrators, each costing $500, to peers working on the front lines at hospitals in Delhi. 

Since then, people have sent thousands of inquiries to Dr. Talwar asking how they can help, she told CNN. Now, after raising nearly half a million dollars, they've been able to send oxygen concentrators, plus other supplies directly to state-funded hospitals.

Dr. Talwar says transparency has been a key part of her team's fundraising efforts so far. Hospitals receiving the donated supplies have each been personally vetted by Dr. Talwar and team, and she uses social media to post progress photos so donors can see how their contributions are helping. 

"My first and foremost concern is for the patients, that's my role as a physician," Dr. Talwar told CNN. "So we're just a group of a couple of physicians trying to get help where help is needed and people keep giving me feedback that I'm giving them transparency and telling them where these concentrators are going and that they can see where their money is going." 

New daily COVID-19 cases hit a global high in India May 6, the country's health ministry recorded about 410,000 cases, according to the Times. The crisis has left hospitals with a lack of oxygen and shortage of hospital beds. 


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