Dr. Alfa Saadu, 68, was volunteering at the Queen’s Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire – one of the countries most affected by the virus – when he fell ill. Her son Dani confirmed that her father died after a two-week battle with the disease.
Dr. Saadu did not specifically respond to the call for retired physicians to return to the front line to fight the pandemic. But his death will raise more questions about the wisdom of the government’s desire to encourage former doctors to return to work when the elderly are more exposed to the coronavirus.
Dr. Saadu retired from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow in 2016 after a successful 40-year medical career, but was helping behind the scenes at his local hospital in Welwyn.
Amged el-Hawrani, a 55-year-old ear, nose and throat consultant at Burton Hospital in Derbyshire, was reported to have died on Sunday. A 63-year-old surgeon, Adil el Tayar, also died last week after volunteering with Midland A&E services to help the NHS cope with the pandemic. General practitioner Habib Zaidi, 76, also died last week after showing “classic symptoms” of the virus.
Dani said his father was “a very passionate man, concerned with saving people. “As soon as you told him about drugs, his face lights up,” he said. “My father was a living legend, worked for the NHS for almost 40 years, saving the lives of people here and in Africa. Until he got sick, he was still working part-time to save people. “
He added: “He was a huge father and we did everything together. The family came first. He left two sons and a woman, herself a retired occupational medicine doctor. “
Lance McCarthy, CEO of Princess Alexandra Hospital, said that Dr. Saadu would be “greatly appreciated by many.” He added: “Alfa was well known in the trust for its passion for ensuring that our patients receive high quality care.”
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt was one of many to pay tribute to the heroism of Dr. Saadu.
Abbas Mirza, a former colleague, said that the death of Dr Saadu underscored the continued sacrifice of NHS workers to save lives.