‘Incredible’ doctor who spent months apart from family on Covid frontline dies of virus

Dr Irfan Halim was saving lives when he collapsed after becoming infected

Laurie Churchman
Saturday 20 November 2021 08:18
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An NHS surgeon who spent months apart from his family treating patients on the Covid frontline has died after contracting the virus himself.

Dr Irfan Halim collapsed on shift and was in intensive care for nine weeks before his death last weekend, his family said. He spent his last moments in his wife’s arms.

She believes he contracted Covid at work.

The 45-year-old treated more than 250,000 patients over a 25-year career with the NHS.

At the height of the first wave, Dr Halim isolated from his wife and four young children to keep them safe.

A colleague at Swindon hospital described Dr Halim as the “definition of service to others”.

His wife said he had the skill of “10 men in one body”.

In a heartbreaking message on a fundraising page, Saila Halim wrote: “My beloved Irfan passed away on the Sunday, November 14 at 7.51pm peacefully whilst I held him in my arms whispering prayers and love into his ears along with his brother and sister surrounded by his beautiful friends.”

He first became ill on 10 September and spent more than two months in intensive care. He “fought hard to be with his children every day” while on a ventilator, Mrs Halim said.

She wrote: “Irfan you gave me 15 magical years as your wife, four beautiful children, wonderful memories that will last me until my remaining days in this world.

“You gave 25 dedicated years service to the NHS working as a Consultant General Surgeon.

“Please remember him in your prayers and duas and mountains of strength for his children for the pain of losing a wonderful, beloved father at such a tender age.

“Irfan you were not only my best friend but a best friend to all our children and so many others.”

Loved ones described Dr Halim, who specialised in laparoscopic surgery, as “a man of many talents”.

Mrs Halim said: “He was the embodiment of ethics, unconditional friendship, a renaissance man of many skills, a scholar that has taught thousands.”

Dr Halim’s colleague Hash Syed said: “You were the definition of service to others, and believing in more. A man of many talents across being a doctor, a pilot and a lawyer. Most importantly, loving father and husband and great friend.”

A fundraising page set up to support Dr Halim’s relatives described him as “the sole breadwinner for his family”. You can donate here.

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