WEBSTER, Texas — A Clear Lake pediatrician who had treated many of her patients for decades – and then went on to treat their children -- has died from the coronavirus.
They say Bhutani was in the ICU for three weeks and on a ventilator before her death on Saturday.
She was a wife, mother and grandmother to two. She was planning for retirement, but then came the pandemic. Her colleagues said it was her calling.
“Neera truly had a servant’s heart. She worked tirelessly for her patients, fighting both disease and insurance companies. Time and time again we would hear stories of how she was the go-to person for friends in need, and she never refused any request for help,” CLP said in a statement on Facebook.
“In a cruel twist of fate,” CLP said Dr. Bhutani was only a month away from getting the COVID-19 vaccine when she became ill.
“She was loved by so many, especially her husband Sudhir, son Sumit, and daughter-in-law Yvette. Her grandchildren, Samaira and Soren, were her greatest joys,” the statement said. “It breaks our hearts that they will no longer have their grandma to spoil them with trips to Target or extravagant birthday parties.”
Ever since hearing of Bhutani's passing, her patients have been calling Clear Lake Pediatrics saying how much they loved the 72-year-old.
“Our phones have been flooded ... calls giving us their condolences," Dr. Roberta Lee, said.
Lee worked alongside Bhutani for 41 years. It's a loss that’s hard to put into words.
“She’s built up at least three generations of patients here, mothers, grandmothers, now bringing their kids here," Lee said.
More than 1,000 people reacted to the Facebook post announcing her death.
Another wrote, “I was one of her very first patients in 1977. We considered her family.”
“So devastating to hear this! She took such great care of my boys! My youngest saw her for the last time when he was 18 and in college. She told us she would see him forever,” Kristy wrote.
“I am so deeply saddened to hear this. Dr. Bhutani was there for my children 36 years ago and my grandchildren go to CLP now,” Robin wrote. “She will truly be missed. But what a wonderful, giving person she was!”
And from Bridget: “What a crushing loss that will be felt, not just in her own family, her professional family, but in all of our households who loved her and relied on her advice, guidance and care. This one hurts. I am forever grateful for the love, concern and care that she gave both of my boys, as their life-long pediatrictian.”
Bhutani was born and raised in India before completing her medical residency in Newhaven, California -- an affiliate of Yale University.
Her love of children led her into pediatrics, and she helped found Clear Lake Pediatrics four decades ago.
Through the years, Bhutani enjoyed seeing generations of families pass through the clinic.
Her fellow doctors said they know she would want them to keep seeing patients.
“I think she would promote people getting the COVID vaccine as soon as they can because I think that’s going to help us get over this pandemic," Lee said.
KHOU 11 News spoke with Bhutani's son. He said they are comforted by the outpouring of support. Her colleagues told us they are heartbroken she got sick a month before she could get a vaccine.