Saudi Arabia mourns first doctor to die after contracting coronavirus

Saudi Arabia mourns first doctor to die after contracting coronavirus
Naeem Chaudhry died after contracting the coronavirus. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 June 2020

Saudi Arabia mourns first doctor to die after contracting coronavirus

Saudi Arabia mourns first doctor to die after contracting coronavirus
  • Pakistani surgeon Naeem Chaudhry died in Makkah, where he worked at Hira General Hospital
  • He contracted the virus in the course of his work helping patients, not from anyone outside the hospital

MAKKAH: Colleagues have paid tribute to the first two doctors to lose their lives in Saudi Arabia as a result of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Pakistani surgeon Naeem Chaudhry died in Makkah, where he worked in the General Surgery Department at Hira General Hospital. Dr. Muhammad Al-Faki, from Sudan, was a hematology oncology consultant at King Saud University Medical City in Riyadh.
Al-Faki’s colleagues and students set up a hashtag on Twitter in his honor to share cherished memories of him.
“He always cared for his patients and followed up with them personally and was in constant contact with (them),” said his colleague Asaad Assiri, a professor and pediatric consultant at KSUMC. “The smile never left his face. He always came early to work and left the hospital late at night.”
Dr. Hasan Batis Alnomani, a pediatric hematologist at KSUMC, said Al-Faki once told him: “Hasan, it has been more than 40 years (and) I did not take sick leave even for a day. I was offered many services and things from patients and their families; I told them thank you.”
Twitter user @satujjar shared a photo, taken four years ago, of his son with Al-Faki during the youngster’s first visit to the hospital’s hematology clinic. He recalled Al-Faki’s “kindness, beautiful spirit, lasting smile, love for children….I can’t imagine the clinic without him.”
Dr. Wael Hamzah Mutair, director general of Makkah Health Affairs, said the health care family is saddened by Chaudhry’s death, and that the city has lost one of its most skilled and prominent general surgeons.
He said Chaudhry was one of the frontline workers who have played such an important role in the fight against COVID-19 in the Kingdom, and confirmed that he contracted the virus during the course of his work, not from anyone outside the hospital. His only existing health problem was high blood pressure, Mutair added.
Makkah Health Affairs has seen many examples of dedication, perseverance and sacrifice among health workers, he said, and that even when family members have tested positive for the virus they have remained steadfast in their duty and continued to do their utmost to protect the country and its people.