The story of Dr James Mahoney is one that will forever be remembered as the greatest human sacrifice in the global fight against coronavirus (Covid-19).
Dr Mahoney, a veteran Pulmonologist from New York City, United States (US), sacrificed his chance at retirement after more than 40 years in service to offer his help at low-income hospitals that initially lacked the medical equipment needed to treat the influx of Covid-19 patients.
How Dr James Mahoney fought Covid-19 until the bitter end
As reported by The New York Times, the 62-year-old spent most of his days treating his patients at the University Hospital of Brooklyn.
On some nights, he would lend a hand over at Kings County Hospital Center and when time permitted, he’d conduct telemedicine sessions with his regular patients.
His older brother Melvin, also a medical doctor, opted to take his retirement at the start of the pandemic. It is a decision that will haunt him since it did not inspire Mahoney to follow in his footsteps.
However, it is highly unlikely that anyone could have convinced the 62-year-old to sit back and watch Covid-19 wipe out the world, from the sidelines.
After all, The Times reports that Mahoney played a role in the medical response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Sandy.
By all accounts, the doctor was an expert in dealing with this crises of this level but Covid-19 has taught us that no amount of precaution will assure you safety from contracting the virus.
In mid-April, Mahoney reported that he had shown symptoms of the virus to his boss Robert Foronjy, who forced him into self-isolation but by then, it was too late and there was nothing anybody could do to reverse his fate.
In a span of a few days, Dr Mahoney went from being asymptomatic to exhibiting the worst of Covid-19’s side effects. By 20 April, he could barely walk and that’s when he was rushed to University Hospital’s emergency room.
He stayed in intensive care for six days but was later moved to Tisch Hospital, where he was placed under a blood oxygenation machine.
This was a mere effort to offer him a peaceful way to bow out, after decades of service.
Foronjy, reacting to the news of Mahoney’s passing, described the loss of such an inspiring character as one “we couldn’t afford to lose”.
“One of the sad stories of this pandemic is that we’re losing people that we couldn’t afford to lose,” he said.