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St. Louis doctor provides medical screening to Afghans resettling in the U.S.

Dr. Sonny Saggar is providing physical and mental health screenings for the Afghan SIV recipients resettling in the U.S.

ST. LOUIS — Dr. Sonny Saggar logged onto a Zoom call Sunday as the gate agents began pre-boarding announcements. He's headed to one of the eight mainland military bases currently processing Afghan refugees for another round of work doing medical screenings. 

"It's an interesting challenge," Saggar said. "It's different from the usual emergency medicine that I do."

An emergency physician and founder of 24/7 Healthcare, Saggar has already spent about two weeks helping Special Immigrant Visa recipients, screening them for physical and mental health needs, and making refugees are vaccinated against coronavirus and other potential illnesses.

"Some of them tell me they haven't had a shower in two weeks. Some of them have left a lot of family behind. Some of them had to rush through the Kabul airport," he said of the refugees' experiences. "I think a lot of them are kind of shell-shocked, but they're all pretty grateful to be safe now. So it's mixed emotions for a lot of them."

Saggar says he's not sure how long he'll be out of town because the experience can last up to a month, but he'll step up as long as he's needed.