A late doctor of the coronavirus, while helping others fight infections, has been described by friends as a “tower of strength”.
The death of Dr. Irfan Halim came after a nine-week battle with the virus, which he contracted just two months after being admitted to the Covid intensive care unit at Swindon Hospital.
It is believed that he contracted Covid at work and collapsed on a shift on September 10th. He was in the intensive care unit in Swindon before being transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital, where he received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation treatment.
Halim was a consulting general surgeon who served in a variety of practices throughout his 25 year medical career. He specialized in laparoscopic surgery and worked for some time on Harley Street.
His death came shortly after that of his father Kamal, who also died of Covid, close family friends said.
Siân Hughes-Pollitt, a family friend who met the doctor through a school fencing club, said that Evening standard Halim’s death left “an enormous gap in many places and spaces”. She said he would frequently commute more than two hours from his Barking home to Swindon to treat patients.
“Irfan had a kind word for everyone,” she said. “It is so difficult to accept that a man who took all medical and clinical precautions against Covid died of the disease.”
She added, “When I picture him now, I see him standing next to his wife and family – a tower of strength. He’s the husband, the father, the best friend. I see him living through his wife and children. “
Hughes-Pollitt said she spoke to Halim’s wife, Saila, in intensive care hours after her husband died. “She was broken… The first thing she said to me was, ‘He went to work and never came home. It was the longest shift. ‘
A The GoFundMe page was set up for Halim and has already raised more than £ 80,000. The money will be used to support Saila and her family. The side reads: “We set up this fund as close friends and family to ease the burden of losing Irfan. Irfan was the only breadwinner in his family. “
His wife wrote: “Irfan went to work at Swindon Hospital on Friday September 10th. He had spent the past two years saving Covid patients and Friday September 10th was just another day that lives were saved. He was in an infirmary wearing his smock and collapsed at work after contracting this illness from work.
“Irfan stayed in intensive care in Swindon until September 23, when he was transferred to Royal Brompton for ECMO treatment. He fought hard every day to be with his children. With a broken heart that has been shattered into unimaginable pieces, I muster the little strength I have to write this message. “
She said her husband gave her “15 magical years” of marriage and four beautiful children. “Irfan, you were not only my best friend, but also a best friend to all of our children and so many others,” she wrote.