Indo-American Father-Daughter Doctors Die Of COVID-19


Satyender Dev Khanna and Priya Khanna worked at the Clara Maass Medical Center.

NEW YORK  – An Indian-American father and daughter, both doctors in New Jersey, have died due to the COVID-19, with Governor Phil Murphy describing their demise as “particularly tough” and hailed them for dedicating their lives for others.

Satyender Dev Khanna, 78, was a surgeon who served both on staff and as the head of the surgical departments for multiple hospitals across New Jersey for decades.


Priya Khanna, 43, was a double board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology. She was Chief of Residents at Union Hospital, now part of RWJ Barnabas Health.


“Dr. Satyender Dev Khanna and Dr. Priya Khanna were father and daughter. They both dedicated their lives to helping others. This is a family dedicated to health and medicine. Our words cannot amply express our condolences,” New Jersey Governor Murphy tweeted on Thursday.


“Both dedicated their lives to helping others and we lost both of them to COVID-19,” Murphy said during a press conference on Thursday, saying their demise is a “particularly tough one.”


Satyender passed away at the Clara Maass Medical Center where he had worked for more than 35 years.

Murphy described him as a “pioneering doctor” who was one of the first surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery in the state. He is being remembered by colleagues as a “gentle and caring physician.”


“And for a doctor, I’m not one, but I would bet, I don’t think there could be a more fitting way to be remembered, or a nurse or a healthcare worker of any kind,” Murphy said, adding that the doctor had a passion for bicycling, and he often found peace from the hustle of the hospital in biking along the Jersey Shore.


Priya did all of her medical training in New Jersey and then did her fellowship in nephrology in South Jersey with the Cooper Health System.


Like her father, she too worked at Clara Maass, where she died.


She was also Medical Director at two dialysis centers in Essex County and “took pride” in teaching the next generation of doctors, Murphy said, adding that the ICU physician who cared for Priya Khanna was trained and taught by her as well.

“Priya will be remembered as a caring and selfless person who put others first. And even while in the hospital, fighting her own battle, she continued to check up on her mom and dad and her family,” Murphy said.


“This is a family, by the way, dedicated to health and medicine,” he said.


The governor spoke with Satyender’s wife Komlish Khanna, who is a pediatrician. The couple has two more daughters — Sugandha Khanna, an emergency medicine physician and Anisha Khanna, a pediatrician.


“Unbelievable. Our words cannot amply express our condolences nor, I am sure, can they express the pain that the Khanna family is feeling. But I hope that the fact that our entire state mourns with them is some small comfort. And we mourn everyone we have lost. We commit in their memory to saving as many lives as we can,” Murphy said.