Area dentist launches donation drive to battle Covid surge in India

Unused sleep apnea machines are converted into ventilators

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FIGHTING COVID-19 Dr. Kusum Atraya of Gilroy Family Dental is urging the public to donate their unused CPAP machines so they can be converted into ventilators. Submitted photo

In 2020, a South Valley dentist launched a donation drive of medical machines to help battle a shortage of ventilators in the Covid-19 fight.

Now, Dr. Kusum Atraya is joining volunteers from around the globe to help India, which is undergoing a deadly wave of Covid-19 infections that is pushing hospitals to the brink and resulting in a severe shortage of oxygen.

Atraya is collecting not-in-use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and BiPAP machines, typically used as a treatment for sleep apnea, and Oxygen Concentrators from the community, which are converted into ventilators for those suffering from Covid-19.

“This coronavirus is a common enemy,” she said. “We can not treat it as one country or one region’s problem. We know from experience that if this spreads in one part of the world, it can spread in others quickly.”

Covid-19 cases began surging in early April, with India now reporting thousands of deaths daily, with projections showing that the country may experience 3-4 million active cases per day.

Since launching the donation drive in the past week, Atraya said she’s already received dozens of machines from the community.

“As a sleep specialist dentist, I treat patients with sleep apnea and snoring with custom-made dental devices, so many of my patients have CPAP machines collecting dust in closets,” she said. “Because the machines are difficult to get used to, patients often switch to oral appliances or stop seeking treatment altogether. So I thought there must be many more people in the community with unused units who might like to donate them to such a cause.”

Atraya is urging patients who are not able to use their CPAP to consider donating these devices. 

“If you are still using the CPAP device regularly as recommended by a physician, then please continue to do so, and do not donate your device,” she said.

Atraya will be collecting these machines at both of her offices at Gilroy Family Dental, 1395 First St., Suite 102, and Lotus Dental Spa, 18181 Butterfield Blvd., Suite 110 in Morgan Hill.

For information, call 408.842.5037 (Gilroy) or 408.778.7700 (Morgan Hill).

“We all need to stand together in these unprecedented times, to help each other for the sake of humanity, and for the sake of our own security, regardless of region, race or religion,” Atraya said.

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