POP Award winner raises funds, spirits for Fijian patient grounded in U.S. due to COVID

December 7, 2020

Dialysis coordinator Amit Singh is not a center of attention type of guy. So when he initiated a fundraiser over the summer to help a patient who was grounded in the United States – worlds away from his wife and son in Fiji – he did so quietly.

Dialysis coordinator Amit Singh and Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer Toby Marsh Dialysis coordinator Amit Singh and Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer Toby Marsh

However, once Clinical Nurse Specialist Maureen Craig learned about the $5,000 Singh raised for the patient and his family, she certainly couldn’t keep quiet about his extraordinary efforts.

“The patient had come to stay with his brother here in the U.S. to get eye surgery to hopefully restore his sight, given his blindness from diabetic retinopathy,” explained Craig. “Around the time of his surgery, for no identifiable reason, he lost most of his hearing as well. Now he was presenting with legally blind, profoundly deaf, and renal failure and a need for dialysis.”

The patient did not want to start dialysis at UC Davis Health or stay in the United States as he had a wife and 12-year-old son in Fiji. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, all flights to Fiji were canceled, with the earliest possible flights back to Fiji scheduled for December 2020 or later.

And that’s where Singh stepped in.

“With kindness and great effort, Amit came to the bedside and spoke with the patient, the patient’s brother, and the brother’s wife in their native tongue, Hindi,” said Craig. “He explained the inability to return to Fiji at this time, and explained the dialysis referral process, and the need to apply for insurance to cover his medical expenses, and together we reviewed his goals of care.”

Yet Singh didn’t stop there. Having immigrated from Fiji himself, he understood the journey and how the patient’s family was likely without much income. He also lost his own brother early in 2020 and recognized the helplessness the patient’s brother was feeling. It was in that spirit that he launched the fundraiser.

For these efforts, Singh was given a Point of Pride (POP) Award, which recognizes that every day, countless acts of bravery, empathy and kindness take place all across our health system. Singh’s wife, parents, mother-in-law and colleagues – as well as the patient and the patient’s family – were in attendance during the award presentation last Friday.

Visibly moved by the outpouring of support, Singh thanked his family and Craig, who he called his mentor. “I just try to have faith and a make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “I usually do it anonymously, so to be recognized like this is really special to me.”

Singh received a plaque, pin, and certificate from Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer Toby Marsh.

“Amit exemplifies our values of love, compassion, courage and integrity,” said Marsh. “We’re really proud to work with you – you represent the very best of UC Davis Health.”

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