VENTURA (CBSLA) — In the wake of the massive Thomas Fire that has ravaged parts of Ventura County since last week, one doctor has gone beyond the credo to “first, do no harm” and is trying to help his co-workers affected by the fire.
After learning some of his colleagues lost their homes in the fire, yet continued to go into work to serve their patients as usual, Dr. Tipu Khan of the Ventura County Medical Center decided to lend a hand.
He created a GoFundMe page so that money raised can help give them some sense of normalcy after this tragedy.
“Knowing that it’s happening to people we know, that I work with, that I spend time with, that I see every single day — it just broke my heart,” Dr. Khan told CBS2 News.
As of Monday evening, the campaign had reached nearly $40,000 of the its $60,000 goal.
The plan is to divide the money up among those affected, like VCMC nurse Mariglo Esherick. She and her three daughters left their house only with their backpacks before the home was set ablaze.
Esherick says she thought, “I’ll spend the night at my brother’s house, and I’ll be back tomorrow morning,” not knowing she would lose her house that night.
Dr. Ken Jones grabbed his I.D., some documents and a change of clothes last Monday, as well. “I think I was probably assuming it would be OK, despite the proximity of the fire,” Jones told CBS2.
Eighteen hours later, while at work, a friend informed him his house had been destroyed.
As he continued caring for his patients, like many people who have lost their homes during these fires, he knew that it could have been worse.
“I have to maintain perspective,” said Jones. “I’m physically intact, and so, this being the case, I’m doing OK.”
Esherick, who had lived in her home for seven years, said her family was “trying to make the best of what we have.”
Dr. Khan hopes this fundraiser will provide friends and colleagues, some of whom are living out of their cars and still going to work every day, some sense of normalcy.
“I know this is the same thing any of them would do for us if it were any of us,” said Khan.
A list of the recipients of the money raised is on the GoFundMe campaign page.