Random Acts of Kindness Day: Spotlights on Making a Difference

This month, to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day, we would like to take the time to recognize two of our physicians for making a difference in the Bay Area community. Although their efforts are not random, they both serve as amazing examples of how kindness and generosity can have an impact. Dr. Hamidreza Khonsari, a family physician, and Dr. Fernando Otero, a vascular surgeon, both volunteer with organizations that provide medical services to uninsured, low-income individuals who would otherwise go without care. We are incredibly proud to have them as members of our group and invite you to read their stories below.

Dr. Hamidreza Khonsari

Dr. Khonsari is an active volunteer at RotoCare Bay Area, a non-profit organization that provides free medical services to people who are unable to afford primary care. You can find him at RotoCare’s Pittsburg location every Wednesday after work and one Saturday per month, where he sees an average of twelve to fifteen patients each shift.

RotaCare Bay Area, founded in 1989 in Santa Clara. In the years since the operation has expanded to include twelve locations across the Bay Area. Each clinic provides a variety of services to underserved and uninsured community members, who frequently have nowhere else to turn. Their free services include medical exams, diagnostic testing, lab testing, and most pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Khonsari has been volunteering at RotaCare since its Pittsburg location opened in 2011 and currently serves as its medical director. Pittsburg RotaCare, like many others, provides services to people with common ailments such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, colds, allergies, sprains, ear infections, and urinary tract infections. They also provide flu immunizations and basic health education to anyone in need. The entire operation is made possible by grants and donations, as well as by the administrators, doctors, nurses, interpreters, and community members who volunteer their time and talent month after month.
When asked why he volunteers for RotaCare, Dr. Khonsari explained he does it for, “the love of bringing good-will to those in need, which is the greatest payment you could receive.” While his efforts over the past seven years have been incredibly rewarding, Dr. Khonsari has learned that the need for basic medical care is much higher than he thought; there are too many people in need and not enough volunteers, organizations, and money to meet the demands. He urges primary care providers to donate some of their time, and the general public to donate whatever money they can to help.

Dr. Fernando Otero

Dr. Otero is one of our talented vascular surgeons. Although he primarily focuses on vascular and endovascular surgery, he partners with Operation Access to offer laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery to uninsured patients. Operation Access is a Bay Area organization that connects uninsured, low-income patients with medical professionals and specialists who are willing to donate their time and services. It allows those in the medical field to give back to their community while providing underserved individuals with vital surgical and specialty care. The impact of Dr. Otero’s work is best illustrated from the perspective of one of his patients, Jeannette.

Jeannette began experiencing severe abdominal pain a year after she gave birth to her daughter and was diagnosed with gallstones during a visit to San Francisco General Hospital. She tried several times to get surgery but was unable to as she lacked health insurance or the money to pay for the procedure herself. Over the course of 26 years, Jeannette dealt with debilitating pain that left her unable to work because she could not complete basic physical tasks. She returned to her native country in search of alternative medicine and spent several years hoping it would help ease her pain.

Jeannette eventually found herself at wit’s end. She was unable to sleep, had difficulties breathing and walking, and began to vomit frequently. She eventually visited La Clinica de la Raza, who referred her to Operation Access for a cholecystectomy. Shortly after her referral, Operation Access put her in contact with Dr. Otero so she could get her gallstones removed at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Initially nervous, Jeannette felt comforted by Dr. Otero’s smile and reassurance. The surgery was a success, and she praises Dr. Otero and Operation Access for returning her quality of life, stating, “I am now healthy and happy with the drive to live, work and support my family.” Jeannette’s story is one of many, as Dr. Otero’s donated services have helped countless of individuals across the Bay Area find relief from painful gallstones.

We thank Dr. Khonsari and Dr. Otero for making a difference in the lives of so many community members! To learn more about RotaCare and Operation Access, we encourage you to visit their websites: