Doctor dies of coronavirus after treating patients in Irish hospitals

Dr Syed Waqqar Ali is eighth healthcare worker in State to die of disease during pandemic

A doctor who was working at the Mater hospital in Dublin has died from coronavirus, three months after falling ill with the disease.

Dr Syed Waqqar Ali had been receiving treatment in the hospital’s intensive care unit since April. He is the eighth healthcare worker to die of the virus in the State.

"It is with profound sadness that the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital confirms that a doctor who worked in our hospital has passed away following a battle with Covid-19," the hospital said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Dr Syed Waqqar Ali passed away after spending three months in ICU being cared for diligently and attentively by his colleagues at the hospital.”


The hospital said Dr Ali had provided "selfless emergency care" to coronavirus patients at a number of hospitals as a locum during the pandemic.

“He had been due to begin a shift at the Mater hospital in April when he felt unwell. He asked to be seen as a patient and was admitted immediately with Covid-19 illness,” it said.

“His colleagues remember him as a hardworking and diligent doctor with a humble and down to earth personality.The Mater hospital extends its deepest sympathies to Dr Ali’s wife, family and loved ones at this very sad time.”

The Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association said Dr Ali had a wife and children.

Speaking to RTE in Tyrellstown, Dublin one of his five children, daughter Dr Samar Fatima Ali said: There are no words for the battle he fought every day, “ She said the family had been planning for his return home. “It was very difficult to see our father in so much pain,” she said. She hoped to carry on her father’s legacy in her work.

‘Worked selflessly’

Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, said Dr Ali had " worked diligently and selflessly to care for patients at all times, and particularly during the pandemic".

“I wish to extend the sympathy of all in the HSE, and all healthcare staff, to Dr Ali’s wife, family and loved ones at this very sad time. My thoughts are also with all of his colleagues in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.”

The Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association said the hospital community was in mourning at the “untimely passing” of their colleague.

“Dr Ali’s tragic death at a young age reminds us once more of the sacrifices made by frontline healthcare professionals, particularly at this time,” it said.

“Dr Ali was an exemplary medical professional with an immense dedication to public service. His expertise, care and warmth made an impression with patients and colleagues alike. This was evident every day among those who worked with Dr Ali and witnessed at first hand his deep commitment to healthcare.

“At the onset of the Covid-19, Dr Ali put himself selflessly at the front line in the fight against this awful pandemic, paying the ultimate price. Our thoughts and condolences are with Dr Ali’s wife Rubab, his children and mother at this sad time.”

Beaumont Hospital extended sympathies to his wife and children who have “lost a true hero”He “ selflessly putting himself at the frontline in our fight against Covid-19. His friends and colleagues in Beaumont Hospital remember him for his clinical diligence as well as his kind and gentle manner”.

The Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council said Dr Ali worked "at the front line in the battle against Covid-19 like many other healthcare workers".

“Healthcare workers are at the front fighting against Covid-19 and are true heroes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family on their terrible loss,” it said.

“He died a martyr helping humanity and as per Islamic belief shall rest in peace in heaven. To God we belong and to God we shall return.”

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland said it was “deeply saddened” by the doctor’s death and extended its condolences to his “family, friends and colleagues”.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said his death was “a reminder of the dangers of Covid-19 and the sacrifice made by frontline healthcare workers”.

A Go Fund Me page had previously been set up for the doctor to help his family along and "other frontline worker families suffering" as a result of the pandemic.

It is understood a minute’s silence will be held across emergency departments at noon on Thursday to remember the doctor.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times