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They died fighting coronavirus: UK doctors from Sudan and Pakistan mourned

Three Muslim doctors died working on the frontlines of the NHS in its fight against coronavirus
The three doctors who gave their lives fighting coronavirus: from left, Adil El Tayar, Amged El-Harwani, Habib Zaidi (screengrab/Twitter)

Tributes have been paid to three Muslim medical workers who have died in the fight against coronavirus in the UK.

The three are the first among UK medical staff to die from the outbreak, which has claimed more than 1,200 lives in the country at time of publication.

All three of the NHS staff spent their final days contributing to fighting the virus in surgeries and hospitals. 

Dr Adil El Tayar

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Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, died on 25 March at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, London. Originally from Sudan, he was an organ transplant specialist and spent his final days working in the A&E department. 

Irfan Siddiq, the British ambassador to Sudan, tweeted his condolences and paid tribute to El Tayar.

Tayar leaves a wife and four children, two of who also work as doctors in the NHS. 

British-Sudanese journalist Zeinab Badawi, his cousin, told the BBC that Altayar was eager to help out during the coronavirus outbreak.

“He wanted to be deployed where he would be most useful in the crisis," she said. "It had taken just 12 days for Adil to go from a seemingly fit and capable young doctor working in a busy hospital to lying in a hospital morgue.”

Dr Habib Zaidi

Dr Habib Zaidi, 76, a family GP, died in intensive care at Southend Hospital in Essex on 27 March. 

Zaidi, who worked as a doctor in Leigh-on-Sea for more than 45 years, was self-isolating when he developed “textbook symptoms” according to his daughter, Sarah Zaidi, who is also a doctor.

“He left a gaping hole in our hearts, but a loss that is also felt within the community that he devoted almost his entire life to,"  she said in a statement. "We are praying for the safety of everyone right now."

Dr Zaidi leaves behind a wife, who is also a doctor, and four children, all of who also work in the medical profession. 

Amged El-Hawrani

Dr Amged El-Hawrani, 55, was a hospital consultant, specialising in the ear, nose and throat department at Queen’s Hospital in Burton, Derbyshire.

El-Hawrani died in Leicester Royal Infirmary on 29 March after testing positive for Covid-19.

His son, Ashraf El-Hawrani, 18, said in a statement that his father was on the frontline and was deeply respected in his profession.

“Most of my dad’s time was dedicated towards his family, and the rest of that time was dedicated towards his profession... he did not seek the praise and approval of others, he was satisfied by viewing the positive effects of his actions and the wellbeing of his family." 

El-Hawrani’s colleagues have also paid tribute. Gavin Boyle, the chief executive at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, said that the consultant was renowned for his work ethic.

“He was known for his dedication and commitment to his patients," Boyle said. "He had also raised funds for the hospitals, including climbing the Himalayas with a group of friends some years ago... I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family.”  

The hospital trust held a minute's silence in El-Hawrani’s memory on Monday.

Support for 'hero' doctors

Many messages of mourning and support have appeared thanking the doctors and showing support to their families.

Some messages have highlighted the backgrounds of the NHS workers and, by extension, the contribution of immigrants to the NHS.

The hashtag #NHSheroes has been used to show support for NHS workers in the UK who are putting their lives at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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