A Dublin-based locum doctor has become the latest frontline healthcare worker to die from Covid-19, bringing the total number of healthcare fatalities in Ireland to eight.
Locum consultant, Dr Syed Waqqar Ali, who was working on the Covid-19 frontline in the Mater hospital, was admitted to the hospital in April with the viral infection. He was treated in intensive care for the past three months. The 60-year-old, who had worked in the Irish health service for more than 15 years, passed away on Tuesday.
Originally from Pakistan, the father-of-five was remembered as a “quiet”, “noble” and “diligent and hardworking” doctor who provided “selfless” emergency care to Covid-19 patients.
The Mater Hospital confirmed that Dr Ali was working on the frontline and was due to begin a shift when he became unwell and asked to be admitted as a patient.
“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 in a statement.
"Dr Ali was a frontline healthcare worker who provided selfless emergency care to Covid-19 patients at a number of hospitals as a locum during this emergency pandemic," it added.
Extending sympathies to Dr Ali’s wife and family, the Mater hospital said he was remembered by colleagues as a “hardworking and diligent doctor with a humble and down to earth personality”.
CEO of the HSE Paul Reid extended his condolences to the Shah family. "Dr Ali is the eighth healthcare worker to die as a result of Covid-19,” he said.
“In common with his colleagues, I know he worked diligently and selflessly to care for patients at all times, and particularly during the pandemic,” he added.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said Dr Ali’s death at a young age was a reminder of the “sacrifices” made by frontline staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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,” the IHCA said in a statement.
“At the onset of the Covid-19, Dr Ali put himself selflessly at the frontline 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,” it added.
Aqil Jafery, a member of the Shia Muslim community, said the news of his passing had shocked the community and that Dr Ali was a "quiet” and “noble doctor".
“He caught the coronavirus while he was working in the Mater hospital and from that day he was in the hospital in ICU. It was devastating,” he said.
Also paying tribute, Chair of the Muslim Peace and Reconciliation Council, Dr Umar Al-Qadri, said Dr Ali was a hero like many others working on the Covid-19 frontline.
Dr Al-Qadri said Dr Ali occasionally attended the mosque in Blanchardstown: “He would sometimes come with his family and have lunch. I remember him as a very down to earth, humble, and friendly person.”