DUBAI: Dr. Mohammad Usman, a 56-year-old general practitioner working in Abu Dhabi, is the first Pakistani doctor in the UAE to lose his life to COVID-19, said the Medical Wing of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD).
“We are saddened by the news and are trying to extend all possible help,” Dr. Nighat Aftab, president of PAD, told Arab News while confirming Pakistan’s first casualty among the front-liners in the Gulf state.
The UAE-based Pakistani doctor passed away on May 15 due to complications arising from COVID19.
He contracted the virus during work two weeks before he passed away, his widow, Alia Usman told Arab News on Thursday. “My husband is a hero and Shaheed (martyr),” she said.
Alia said he started having breathing problems on May 2 and was admitted to hospital but passed away after two weeks. He leaves behind two sons aged 6, and 4.
Hailing from Pakistan’s northern town of Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir, Dr. Usman worked for a private health care group for the past 11 years but lost his job last year following which he joined a small clinic where he mostly saw blue-collared workers, she informed.
“He was a very dedicated doctor and paid immense attention to all his patients. I often told him to take extra care since we had young children but he always said that if as a doctor I can’t satisfy my patients then there is no point in me working,” Alia said, adding that Dr. Usman had no underlying health problems.
“Once COVID-19 started, he said that if anything happened to him, he would like to be buried in his home country but since the situation does not permit, he has been laid to rest here,” she said.
Remembering Dr. Usman as a “very dedicated doctor,” Alia said that “if any doctor refused to examine patients due to the virus, he would always present himself. He said that the virus does not choose people and if they fall sick, where will they go?”
She, however, lamented that he had not been provided proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). “He had only been given a mask, gloves and a sanitizer which isn’t enough for any doctor in these conditions,” she said.
Alia requested the UAE government to educate people on how to approach hospitals. She further said the she did not need any donations. “I would also like to add that we do not need any kind of donations…if the government realizes his services and would like to extend recognition, then that is welcome,” she said.
Dr. VSN Kiran, and Indian orthopedic and spine surgeon, who worked with Dr. Usman until 2016, remembered him as a very kind and soft-spoken man.
“He was two years elder to me and all I can say is that he was like an angel…very calm and dedicated,” Dr. Kiran told Arab News.
She said she still had messages from Dr. Usman where he said that he was seeing between 40 to 60 cases even during this health crisis. “His passing is very sad and unfortunate,” said Dr. Kiran.
While the Gulf state with an estimated population of 9.8 million has taken some stringent measures to curb virus spread including ban on social gatherings, congregational prayers, and movement of people in groups, doctors still remain at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president, prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, granted “Golden Visas” to around 212 doctors of various specializations this month as “a token of appreciation for their efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and their selfless dedication to caring for infected patients,” reported the Emirati WAM news agency.