SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento doctor is home tonight after helping thousands of Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.
Even the hospital he worked in was nearly destroyed.
Dr. James Peng has been an emergency room physician at the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center for years, but he says when he heard about the typhoon in the Philippines last month, he knew he had to help.
“It was heart wrenching,” said Dr. Peng.
The doctor captured video of crumbled buildings and debris as far as the eye can see with his iPhone as he drove through the hardest-hit areas after Typhoon Haiyan. The typhoon killed more than 5,000 people.
“You realize what that scale of devastation actually means and what it means to the people there who have lost homes and loved ones,” he said.
The hospital Peng and his team worked out of near the town of Tacloban wasn’t in the best shape either, missing walls and had very limited supplies.
“There was no electricity. There was no laboratory work — none of the things we would assume you would have going to a hospital here,” he said.
Peng said in the short time they were there, they treated more than 3,000 people. It was the most challenging work he said he’s done, but it was also very rewarding because he was able to help so many.
“If we weren’t there, there would have been thousands of people who would have needed care that probably might not have got it,” he said.
And it’s an experience he says he will never forget. And some of the victims will never forget him. One patient named her baby after Peng, who he delivered the baby.
“You learn that there’s really resilient people in the world, very gracious and thankful of the care that you are providing. And you also bring that humanity back to the patients here,” he said.
Peng is glad to be back, but he says if there is any other natural disaster, he’ll be the first one to sign up to volunteer. He was one of about a dozen other doctors from Northern California who went to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.