Tess Punnapuzha, MD
Tess Punnapuzha, MD
Primary Care Physician
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York
East New York’s Family Doctor
Doctors have had to cope with the pandemic in so many unseen ways, and at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York, Dr. Tess Punnapuzha has been a model of steadiness under the most challenging and volatile circumstances. One day at the height of the crisis, she took a phone call from a woman whose 7-year-old daughter had suddenly become unable to use one of her legs while walking or to write normally.
“I wanted her to be seen immediately, but this was at the time when we didn’t have the capacity to bring in patients, so I asked her to go to the ER,” Dr. Punnapuzha recalls. “I called her the next day, and she said she didn’t go because she was afraid about all the news about people dying. I told her she had to go, and finally I convinced her.” It turned out that the little girl had a brain tumor. Fortunately, it was operable, and now, two years later, she is almost back to normal.
A veteran pediatrician, Dr. Punnapuzha is known by patients and their families for her warm and caring nature and admired by colleagues for being a stabilizing influence during the most difficult and fluid period of the pandemic, just as she has been since joining the East New York clinic in 2014. Her affiliation with NYC Health + Hospitals goes back to her internship and residency at Lincoln Hospital in 1992 after a decade of medical education and training in her native India. Among her positions prior to East New York was a four-year tenure as a school health specialist for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Through the years, Dr. Punnapuzha has also been a mentor to medical students and a role model for younger colleagues. She represents East New York in the health system’s monthly pediatric ambulatory care workshop, helping foster best practices and bringing back new ideas and guidance to her colleagues.