A father-of seven doctor has died from Covid-19 after telling his colleagues: ‘This isn’t a time for cowards’.
Dr Gamal Osman, 63, was one of the leaders of the team treating hundreds of Covid patients at Southmead Hospital in North Bristol, but contracted the virus himself and passed away yesterday following a lengthy battle in intensive care.
Colleagues said he lost his brother to Covid last September, but despite many friends, colleagues and relatives trying to persuade him to transfer to a different department, he chose to go back into the Covid wards at Southmead.
A tribute to Dr Osman posted by those who worked alongside him in the fight against coronavirus described him as ‘generous, calm and an extremely popular member of the Acute Medical Team’.
Dr Gamal Osman (pictured above) was one of the leaders of the team treating hundreds of Covid patients at the Southmead hospital in North Bristol
Dr Osman with his family Reel, wife Manal, Gamal, Lama, Sara, Ahmed and Dina (pictured left to right, at the back) and Hassan and Lamis seen towards the front
His colleagues said: ‘Memorably, he rallied his colleagues by saying “This isn’t a time for cowards”.’
The tribute, from Prashanth Mamilla, Rina Adhikary, Ella Chaudhuri, Nigel Lane, Kiaran Flanagan and Louise Powter, also said Dr Osman was well aware that he was high risk of Covid-19 being serious for him, if he contracted the virus, but refused to leave his colleagues.
A fundraiser set up by his colleagues to help his wife Manal, 45, and seven children has raised more than £47,000 in less than 24 hours, with those behind the appeal saying they are amazed at the response.
Its description read: ‘Gamal was a long-term locum consultant at North Bristol NHS Trust for the last two years and could always be relied upon to offer a helping hand, was always smiling and kind to everyone around him.
‘Gamal was generous, calm and an extremely popular member of the Acute Medical Team.
‘We are all aware that Covid poses a higher risk to BAME and older patients.’
It added: ‘Gamal was well aware of this risk, particularly as he lost his brother to Covid in September 2020.
‘Despite this tragedy, many conversations with friends, colleagues and relatives trying to persuade him to minimise his risk and despite his awareness of the risk involved, he was committed to continuing to care for acutely unwell patients with Covid.
Southmead Hospital (pictured above) in Bristol. A fundraiser set up by his colleagues to help his wife Manal, 45, and seven children has raised more than £47,000 in less than 24 hours
Dr Prashanth Mamilla said: ‘His friends and colleagues were constantly hoping that he would beat the odds and survive this disease, but sadly this has not come to pass’
Dr Osman, who was known by colleagues as ‘Ozzy’, was from Birmingham, and worked as a locum consultant in Acute Care all over the country, including at Liverpool’s main hospital, in Birmingham and for the past couple of years, at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
Just months after his brother succumbed to the virus, Dr Osman contracted Covid-19 himself, three weeks before the vaccine was introduced to the frontline staff on his ward.
He spent weeks battling the virus in hospital, and in intensive care, before passing away yesterday.
Within hours, his devastated colleagues set up a fundraising page for him, and within 24 hours it has passed £40,000.
‘This is amazing,’ said Rina Adhikary, one of the Acute Team at Southmead Hospital.
‘We didn’t dare to hope that we’d get to this amount in a week, never mind an evening. Thank you so much to everyone who’s donated and shared.’
Dr Osman (pictured above), who was known by colleagues as ‘Ozzy’, was from Birmingham, and worked as a locum consultant in Acute Care all over the country
Dr Osman was the ‘sole breadwinner’ for his family. He had six children under 20, with the youngest aged seven, according to Dr Mamilla
Dr Prashanth Mamilla explained why they set up the page, and why they wanted to support Dr Osman’s family.
He said: ‘His passing is devastating to all of his colleagues, but even more so to his wife and seven children who now have to deal with both the trauma of bereavement and with the financial burden it now places on them.
‘Gamal was the sole breadwinner for his family. Six of his children are under 20, with the youngest being only seven years of age.
‘As such they are completely dependent on his earnings to support their day to day subsistence, education and rental of the family home.
‘His friends and colleagues were constantly hoping that he would beat the odds and survive this disease, but sadly this has not come to pass.
‘We would like to repay the generosity that Gamal showed and embodied every day by trying to help his family through this difficult time.
‘If you have encountered Gamal in your working life or if you just want to help and feel that you would be able to contribute to the wellbeing and financial security of his wife and children we would urge you share this and consider donating whatever you feel appropriate.’