As more people are starting to take the Covid-19 vaccine, this Texas Doctor tried his best to avoid wasting perfectly workable doses by giving them out to people that were high risk. Dr. Hasan Gokal frantically tried to make as many calls as he can to people right outside of his home, Houston.
He Had 6 Hours Before the Medicine Expired
Dr. Gokal asked over 20 workers from his hospital if they wanted to take the vaccine, but they either said no or have already been vaccinated. He then called a Harris County public health official and asked him to find 10 people to take the doses, in which he was told a simple "OK." As time was running out, he knew if he returned the vial to his department, that they would get thrown away, so he started calling people from his contact list as a last resort.
He Gave Vaccines Out to People Who Were High Risk
Some of the calls he made involved were strangers: a mother with a child who uses a ventilator, a woman in her 80s with dementia, a 99-year-old who was bedridden. Lastly, he gave the last dose to his wife, who has a pulmonary disease that causes her to have a hard time breathing.
"It Was The Lowest Moment Of My Life"
His actions had consequences and Dr.Gokal was charged for stealing 10 vaccine doses -all worth a crime-worthy $135- as well as being fired from his job. Additionally, his mug shot was spread across the world. On a telephone interview, Dr.Gokal stated, "It was my world coming down. To have everything collapse on you. God, it was the lowest moment in my life."
Everyone was Thinking "This Guy is A Villain"
Kim Ogg Accuses Dr. Gokal for abusing his position
People were getting angry because they thought that Dr.Gokal was taking away vaccines from their loved ones and giving them to people with who he was close with. In reality, he just didn't want any doses to go to waste. Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney, accused him of abusing his position as well as violating county protocols, and that he should have thrown the doses away instead of utilizing them.
Dr. Gokal is Now Known as The Pakistani Doctor in Houston Who Stole Vaccines
Now, Dr.Gokal spends his time volunteering at a nonprofit health clinic for the uninsured, haunted by his courageous decision. He asked, "How can I take it back?" He is now paying the price for the rest of his life: he lost his job, his children are anxious, and his wife is worried.
A Story That Needs to be Heard
Dr. Gokal went above and beyond to ensure no vaccine doses were wasted, and instead was charged for stealing them. No one from the district attorney's office contacted him to hear his version of the story. Dr. Gokal deserves his job back and the Harris County DA's office should be ashamed of themselves for the baseless claims they made. If there were more doctors in the world like Dr.Gokal, the pandemic might not be a big deal as it is now.
He asked permission, found people appropriate under the guidelines, and did not waste a single vaccine. There are real problems going on during this pandemic, and Dr.Gokal is not one of them.