Irish family pay tribute to UK medic who died from Covid-19

Carlow family of Dublin-educated doctor Amged El-Hawrani ‘devastated’ at his death

Consultant Amged El-Hawrani became the first frontline NHS hospital worker to die after testing positive for Covid-19. Photograph: University Hospitals Derby and Burton/PA Wire

Consultant Amged El-Hawrani became the first frontline NHS hospital worker to die after testing positive for Covid-19. Photograph: University Hospitals Derby and Burton/PA Wire

 

The Irish family of the first frontline medic to die in the UK’s coronavirus outbreak are “devastated” at his loss, his Co Carlow-based brother-in-law has said.

Amged El-Hawrani, an ear, nose and throat consultant working in England, died at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on Saturday after becoming infected from treating Covid19 patients.

Mr El-Hawrani (55) met his Irish wife Pamela Foley while at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) in Dublin. They married in 1996 in Ms Foley’s home town of Tullow, Co Carlow. The doctor later worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for a number of years.

“He was kind, he was caring. The two things he cared most about in his life were his family and his work. He dedicated his life to both,” his brother-in-law Francis Foley told The Irish Times.

Mr Foley said his sister was struggling with the loss of her husband. “She is finding it very tough – she is devastated,” he said.

Dr Antonia Lehane, president of RCSI’s medical graduates’ association, said Mr El-Hawrani, who graduated from the Dublin medical school in 1993, was “an exceptional person”.

Mr El-Hawrani’s colleagues at Queen’s Hospital in Burton in the east midlands in England where he worked paid tribute to him with a minute’s silence in his honour at the weekend.

Dr Magnus Harrison, the medical director of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton trust, said that Mr El-Hawrani was “fit and healthy” before contracting the virus in early February.

The medic’s brother Amal El-Hawrani described his brother as a hero.

He said that the Irish-educated doctor “would have been heavily exposed” to the virus during his work with Covid19-infected patients.

“He worked so hard both private and NHS at many hospitals. He saw hundreds and hundreds of patients. We don’t know how many patients he was exposed to,” Mr El-Hawrani told the BBC.

“Is he a hero? Of course, just like every doctor and every nurse and anyone working the NHS. My heart goes out to anyone who has also lost someone because of this virus.”

Mr El-Hawrani’s family paid tribute to him in a statement at the weekend, describing him as “the rock of our family – incredibly strong, compassionate, caring and giving.”

His 18-year-old son Ashraf paid tribute to his father saying that he taught him “the significance of respect and equality”.

“He did not seek the praise and approval of others. He was satisfied by viewing the positive effects of his actions and the wellbeing of his family,” he said in the statement released by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

“I am incredibly proud to say that for 18 years of my life, Amged El-Hawrani was my father.”