Hundreds of people paid tribute to a “very special” Egyptian doctor who cared for the elderly on three different continents before dying in Britain after contracting the coronavirus.
Dr Medhat Atalla, 62, was a consultant geriatrician at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, in the northern England, where he died.
The hospital called him a "hugely popular and respected colleague" and a "truly gentle gentleman who will be missed by us all”.
Dr Atalla arrived in the UK from Egypt about 20 years ago before going on to work in the north of England.
Tributes flooded in on Facebook for the doctor, who was described as “such a kind and gentle soul” by one user.
Another friend called him “a real NHS hero” while one called him “a wonderful man”.
On Twitter, Dr Mohsin Ditta, who worked as a junior doctor under Dr Atalla, described him “a very kind and gentle human being” and someone who “delivered excellent care as a geriatrician”.
Dr Tim Noble, medical director, and Richard Parker, chief executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “It is with immense sadness that we inform you that our colleague, Dr Medhat Atalla, has passed away following treatment for Covid-19 at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
“Dr Atalla became a full-time member of our Trust in 2014, when he was appointed as a Consultant Geriatrician on our Gresley Unit. We were fortunate to have worked with him for many years prior to this, since his arrival in the United Kingdom in the early 2000s, where he cared for many elderly patients in hospitals throughout the North of England.
“A hugely popular and respected colleague, Dr Atalla was a very special human being who practised medicine across three continents throughout his career, affecting the lives of so many in such a positive way. He was a truly gentle gentleman and he will be hugely missed by us all.”
The hospital thanked colleagues who cared for Dr Atalla during his illness.
“As a Trust, we share our deepest sympathies with Dr Atalla’s brother and sister, and loved ones in Egypt, and we ask that the media respect their wishes during this extremely challenging time,” the doctors said.
More than 100 NHS staff have died of Covid-19 in the UK amid growing concerns of a lack of personal protective equipment for those working on the front line during the pandemic.
Britain is one of the worst hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic, with 140,000 confirmed cases and 18,738 hospital deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University figures. The death toll is thought to be significantly higher, as it doesn’t include people who have died in hospices and care homes.