Coronavirus: First doctor dies from Covid-19 after returning from retirement to NHS

Jane Dalton
Dr Saadu's son and nephew paid tribute to him on social media: Ahmadu Galadima / Twitter

A doctor who returned from retirement to help coronavirus patients has died after becoming infected with the disease.

Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, died on Tuesday. His son, Dani, wrote that: “The NHS were amazing and did everything they could” during the two weeks his father had been ill.

Describing Dr Saadu as “a legend”, he said he had worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years, in the UK and Africa.

“Up until he got sick, he was still working part-time saving people,” he wrote.

Dani Saadu added a plea: “The coronavirus is not a joke, please take it seriously and listen to the government. Please stay safe and protect your loved ones – nothing is more important.”

He told the HuffPost his father had been working at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, before he died. “He was a massive family man and we did everything together. Family came first. He left two sons and a wife, who is a retired doctor herself in occupational health,” he said.

Dr Saadu, 68, stepped down as medical director of the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in 2016 after nearly four decades in healthcare, when he also worked as acting clinical director of the care of the elderly department at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

One former colleague wrote in tribute: “He was loud, bold and loved a challenge. Enjoyed his football, family and was looking forward to retirement to spend it with his grandchildren.”

Another said he was “very well known and respected in London amongst his medical colleagues and had a warm heart. He did a lot of good for his patients, trainees and the NHS”.

The doctor graduated from University College Hospital Medical School, London, in 1976 and had been a consultant physician in geriatric medicine since 1994.