Inspirational Stories QCH Foundation ottawa

Surviving the Fear of COVID-19

Dr Iyengar

Dr. Akshai Iyengar immigrated to Canada from India in 1987 when he was nine years old. He says his family had to work from the bottom up – but they had lots of support along the way. “Like many immigrants, we needed help and we got it from our community,” he remembers. “That is when I learned to give back.”

Dr. Iyengar brought this same philosophy to Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) when he arrived 10 years ago. As Chief and Medical Director of the Department of Critical Care Medicine, he is grateful for the support that QCH Foundation and its donors provide. That’s why he’s a monthly donor himself. “It’s important to always give back to people or organisations that have given to you. I donate because I believe in this hospital, in the care we provide, and in the people who provide that care.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified that commitment. “In my ten years in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Dr. Iyengar. “We have never been hit by such an unknown and unclear disease – and the fear that comes with it. The entire QCH team has been amazing. We have come together to do the very best for our patients and for each other.”

Dr. Iyengar says he is proud of QCH’s spirit and commitment to patients and families.

“When I started here a decade ago, there were far fewer physicians. Even though our team has grown considerably, we’ve been able to retain that culture of caring. The entire team gives back.”

Dr. Iyengar says he sees the benefits of generous donors every day. “Our ICU is a very expensive department to run. Every year, we need equipment upgrades, often involving life-saving equipment. And as medical evidence changes, so does the equipment.”
He notes that less expensive equipment has a major impact too:

“The Foundation has been very generous in supporting the purchase of small equipment for our ICU and many other departments, all of which enhance patient care.”

While the future may be uncertain, Dr. Iyengar says the need for ongoing support from the community is clear. That’s why he will continue to be a monthly donor. “In addition to COVID-19, we are dealing with all the other challenges that were already here. Going forward, that will not change. We are all in this together.”