A gay Baltimore intensive care doctor passed away from coronavirus in his husband’s arms after months of battling the pandemic on the front line.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Dr Joseph Costa, 56, was the chief of the critical care division at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
As he was dying in the hospital he worked at on Saturday, 25 July, his husband of 28 years David Hart held him, while around 20 of Costa’s colleagues held a vigil.
Hart said: “Those who cared for Joe were his best friends. A housekeeper who knelt by his bed and shook with grief said: ‘I’m now losing my best friend.’”
He described his husband, who had worked at Mercy Medical Center since 1997, as the bravest man he ever knew.
Costa was an “egalitarian person”, Hart said, who often volunteered to work on holidays so his colleagues could spend time with their children.
The couple had a farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont, and Hart said: “Being married to a doctor isn’t easy and you give up a lot.
“When Joe and I were at the farm we always had such a good time. He was a workaholic and he told me I taught him how to relax.”
Hart said his husband’s death makes him even more frustrated to see people not taking the proper precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
There have been more that 3,000 deaths in Maryland due to COVID-19, and Hart added: “I keep thinking, now there is one less ICU doctor to care for pandemic patients in Baltimore.”
“I get so angry when I see people not wearing masks,” he said.
“It makes me want to take a bar of soap and write on my car’s rearview window that ‘My husband who saved so many lives died of COVID-19. Wear a mask!’”
Mercy Medical Center released a statement on death of the gay Baltimore doctor from coronavirus, saying Costa was “admired and respected” throughout Baltimore for “his clinical expertise”.
It added: “He was beloved by his patients and their family members – known for his warm and comforting bedside manner as well as his direct and informative communication style.
“When he counselled our patients and families, he did so with great compassion and empathy.
“For all the nurses and staff who worked closely with Joe on the intensive care unit, he was like an older brother that all admired and revered… A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered.
“Planning is underway now for a memorial service and details will be shared as soon as possible. We will grieve together and we will get through this challenging time together.”
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