Pandey’s basketball past fuels doctoring present

Off The Field and In The Fight: Amit Pandey

Pressure has never been absent from Amit Pandey’s life.

At 17 years old he was staring down Jeremy Tyler, trying to win a CIF championship for his alma mater Torrey Pines. These days, he’s battling something much more difficult than a future NBA player in the paint.

He’s making sure the patients at Sharp Rees-Stealy with COVID-19 leave his hospital without it.

Pandey is a hospitalist – think a doctor who works inside a hospital instead of a local clinic – that spends a portion of his shift working directly on the coronavirus floor. Amit’s life isn’t about talking COVID-19. It’s about administering the help that keeps humans alive.

“It’s been a blessing and an honor,” Pandey said. “A challenge no doubt, but a really good learning experience as well.”

Hospital 3Before UCLA and UCSD medical school, Pandey was a utility forward for Torrey Pines basketball. He’ll still go back to watch the team a decade later, much to the joy of his coach, the legendary John Olive.

“He made sure we were running good offense,” Olive said. “He scored when he had to…he was unselfish. The discipline he learned as a player are all important elements to what he does now.”

Pandey tore his ACL his junior year – an injury that spurred his love for medicine.

“That led me down the path,” Pandey said. “I wanted to pay it forward and help patients in the same way I was helped. I trace a lot of the things that helped me be successful in life after basketball to the lessons I learned from basketball itself – that medicine is a team sport.”

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