Coronavirus: UK’s first ‘frontline’ doctor dies after contracting disease

Tributes paid to 55-year-old Amged El-Hawrani following death at Leicester Royal Infirmary

Harry Cockburn
Sunday 29 March 2020 17:28
Coronavirus in numbers

A Midlands doctor has become the first “frontline” worker to die in the fight against coronavirus, the NHS has said.

Amged El-Hawrani died at the Leicester Royal Infirmary after testing positive for Covid-19.

Dr El-Hawrani was a consultant and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) trainer at Queen’s Hospital Burton and died on Saturday evening.

NHS England has said the 55-year-old was the first frontline worker to die in the fight against Covid-19.

Dr El-Hawrani’s death comes after that of NHS surgeon Adil El Tayar whose death from coronavirus in the UK was also confirmed today.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “My deepest condolences are with Amged’s family at this extremely sad time. The NHS is a family and we all feel deeply the loss of any of our colleagues, as we all continue to unite and work together to tackle the spread of coronavirus, I know that the whole of the NHS and the public we serve will want to extend our sympathies to the El-Hawrani family.”

He added: “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, which means everyone abiding by the government’s clear instructions to stay indoors, self-isolate, keep strictly to social distancing advice and practise good hygiene, which means washing hands more often and for longer.”

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB), said: “Mr El-Hawrani, known to his colleagues as Amged, was an extremely hard working consultant and ear, nose and throat 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.

“He was known for his dedication and commitment to his patients. He had also raised funds for the hospitals, including climbing in the Himalayas with a group of friends some years ago. The whole UHDB family are desperately saddened at losing Amged who was such a valued and much loved colleague.”

He added: “On behalf of everyone here at UHDB, including our patients and the communities we serve, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family.”

UK housing minister Robert Jenrick, who led the government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday, said he had heard the news shortly before press conference began that Dr El-Hawrani had “very sadly passed away’’.

“The deaths we are reporting daily at these press conferences are very sobering. Every death is a tragedy, we don’t want to see any unnecessary death,” he said.

Additional reporting by PA

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