’He was my hero;’ Pueblo doctor dies of COVID-19

Dr. Atul Vahil passed away in December of 2020.
Dr. Atul Vahil passed away in December of 2020.(S Murthy Badiga)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 3:39 PM MST
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - One of the many people across the country who have been putting the health of others before their own passed away, and his family believes COVID-19 claimed his life.

Dr. Atul Vahil worked as an independent doctor at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. He founded Digestive Diseases Specialists of Colorado in 2001, according to his website.

His family tells 11 News he contracted COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago and passed away this week.

“He was my hero, he was my best friend my mentor, everything I want to be,” Dr. Vahil’s son Neel Vahil told 11 News Reporter Danielle Kreutter on Thursday. “If I’m even a quarter of a person he was, I will be the luckiest guy in the world. He was everything to me and my family. Funny all the time. Amazing Sense of humor. Loved by everyone. All this patients, all the people who got to know him meet him. The most generous person in the world. You didn’t have to ask him for something, he just knew.”

According to Dr. Vahil’s son, his father didn’t have any hesitation when it came to going to work during a pandemic.

“I told him that he shouldn’t go in, the response he gave me is, ‘I’m a doctor that’s my job, otherwise what’s the point,’” Neel explained. “It’s a duty.”

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar shared his condolences on Friday for both Dr. Vahil and Rita Martinez, a Chicana activist:

“Yesterday, we lost Dr. Atul Vahil and Rita Martinez, two citizens who made their mark on Pueblo in different ways,” the statement from Mayor Gradisar reads. “Rita Martinez was a relentless fighter for social justice and equity in Pueblo.  Dr. Vahil had a successful medical practice and while I can’t say I enjoyed the procedures he performed on me, I always enjoyed his sense of humor and our interactions.  COVID-19 took both Puebloans too early and we will miss them.  We grieve with their families for their loss and with all of the families who have lost loved ones to this pandemic.”

One of his friends shared the tragic news to Facebook early Thursday morning:

I cannot believe my close friend Atul Vahil is no more. Atul was my immediate senior in GI Fellowship in NY. Besides...

Posted by S Murthy Badiga on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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