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NHS confirms first death of a UK doctor due to coronavirus

An ear, nose and throat consultant has become the first UK doctor confirmed to have died of coronavirus.

Mr Amged El-Hawrani, 55, was an associate clinical director and ENT specialist at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, and died on Saturday (28 March) at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital.

He is the first UK doctor confirmed to have died after testing positive for the virus. 

In a statement, Gavin Boyle, chief executive of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, said: ‘I want to pay tribute to Mr Amged El-Hawrani, who has sadly passed away. Mr El-Hawrani, known to his colleagues as Amged, was an extremely hard working consultant and ENT trainer who was well liked at the Trust and particularly at Queen’s Hospital Burton where he worked.

‘Amged played a leading role in the merger between the hospitals in Burton and Derby and helped bring the two clinical teams together. He was keen to support colleagues outside of ENT and was well known across a wide number of departments.’

A spokesperson for El-Hawrani’s family said: ‘Amged was a loving and much-loved husband, son, father, brother, and friend. His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both. He was the rock of our family, incredibly strong, compassionate, caring and giving. He always put everyone else before himself. We all turned to him when we needed support and he was always there for us. He had so many responsibilities and yet he never complained.

‘We would like to thank all those involved in his care for their kindness and compassion during his illness. They worked tirelessly for their patient, as he would have done for his own.’

Expressing his condolences, NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: ‘Nobody can be in any doubt about the scale of the challenge we face with this virus, and Amged’s death is not just an individual human tragedy but a stark reminder to the whole country that we all must take this crisis seriously.’

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: ‘I share the deep sadness about the death of Mr El-Hawrani that will be felt by the whole medical profession and wider NHS, and send condolences to his family on behalf of all of us.

‘Covid-19 is a risk to everyone, but clinical NHS staff are at the front line in battling this disease. Everyone is rightly inspired by the skill and dedication of our NHS staff like Mr El-Hawrani.

‘The action that everyone in the UK can do to reduce the risk to the NHS is to continue to follow Government advice on staying at home and social distancing. This is the practical support the NHS and its staff need from us all at the moment.’

This comes as the family of Essex GP Dr Habib Zaidi, 76, told the BBC that they believe he died of coronavirus last week. Dr Zaidi, a partner at Leigh-on-Sea’s Eastwood Group Practice, is understood to have died in intensive care in Southend Hospital on 25 March. 

A third doctor, Dr Adil El Tayar, is believed to have died from the virus on the same date, at London’s West Middlesex University Hospital. The BBC reported that he volunteered at Hereford Hospital in the Midlands during the outbreak.

Last week, the BMA issued a warning that GPs would die after treating patients with Covid-19, unless they had sufficient PPE

And, over the weekend, the BMA wrote to Italy’s medical associations to express its condolences after learning that 50 doctors have now died from coronavirus in the country. 

The letter from BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘It is with deep sadness and horror that we learn that the lives of more than 50 doctors have now been lost in Italy to Covid-19, and I would like to extend my sincerest condolences, on behalf of the British medical profession.’

It continued: ‘British doctors have looked to Italy with trepidation as the spread here continues, as we are naturally concerned that we may face a challenge of the same scale within weeks. The bravery and compassion shown by our Italian colleagues in the most harrowing circumstances is an inspiration to us.’