COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus pediatrician is being forced to close, after becoming the victim of thieves for a second time. Patients sweating and the possibility of infants becoming dehydrated while waiting to be seen by Dr. Rekha Panvelkar are causing a hardship for the doctor's office and patients. The temperature inside the office was unbearable for patients and the workers, that's why she decided to close for the week.
"Oh my God, what am I going to do?" Dr. Panvelkar exclaimed after realizing that her three AC units had been stolen. "It's so hot, I'm afraid the babies two to three weeks old are going to be dehydrated. "
The parents are equally concerned. Derise Scott said, "He just finished a bottle, fanning him also so he can stay cool." "It's pretty hot, I was about to leave and sit in the car," added Kinzal Patel.
The thermostat reads 86 degrees, but everyone in the office feels it's a lot warmer, more like 90 degrees. Some parents and kids left and opted to reschedule because of the wait time and heat.
According to police reports, the units were reported stolen July 1, 2010. But due to the 4th of July of holiday, Dr. Panvelkar said, they had to wait for an insurance adjuster to assess the situation. Last week had a temporary unit installed and by Monday morning, it was gone.
"Extremely upset, I am a single mom and I need my pay," said Dominique Moore who works at the doctors office. Dr. Panvelkar says she will pay her employees, even though being forced to close is a hardship.
The cost to replace each AC unit is $7000.00. The insurance company is picking up the tab, while Panvelkar said she hopes police will increase patrols and bring these bandits to a screeching halt.