Lab tech survives stroke
Chemistry department left shorthanded by absence
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 18:02
Devinder Johl, a long-time employee in the chemistry department, suffered a severe stroke during winter break.
The result of the stroke caused Johl to become paralyzed on the right side of his body. He is unable to speak and can only use his facial expressions and eyebrows to communicate with others.
The cerebrovascular accident happened late in December.
He was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Richmond for intensive care before being transferred to another hospital in Walnut Creek for rehabilitation.
Johl is currently at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Antioch, which provides a combination of both in-care help and rehab to aid those who are victims of a stroke.
When chemistry professor Joseph Ledbetter, who is on sabbatical, heard of Devinder’s stroke, he said he was shocked.
“Before getting all of the information, when I first got a call about us (the department) looking for a new lab technician,” Dr. Ledbetter said, “I thought, ‘Great, Dave has finally retired’ because he always wanted to and has been working here for so long.”
Ledbetter said he was the last person from Contra Costa College to visit Johl in the hospital.
The other visitors included Center for Science Excellence Director Setati Sidharta; Natural, Social and Applied Sciences Division Dean Terence Elliott and chemistry department Chairperson Thuy Dang.
Johl, known as Dave by his friends, has been working at CCC since the early 1980s. His job as a lab technician consists of him setting up all of the chemistry classes’ materials for each lab experiment.
His other tasks included taking down the materials and bringing any used chemicals to the waste storage room located near the Physical Science Building to be properly disposed of later.
The lack of a formal lab technician has created small setbacks for the chemistry labs in the first few weeks of the semester, Dr. Dang said.
Each chemistry course, from Introduction to Chemistry to second semester Organic Chemistry, require lab experiments to be done every week.
“To put things in perspective, every week he made sure to set up and take down experiments for 360 students,” she said.