A top orthopaedic surgeon at Whiston Hospital – described as a "caring, very experienced and dedicated doctor" – has died with coronavirus.
Sadeq Elhowsh, 58, is the latest frontline worker on Merseyside to tragically succumb to Covid-19.
Bosses at Whiston said the married dad-of-four was "dearly loved by all of his close colleagues and well respected by his patients" over his 17 years with St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
In a statement, his devastated family said: "Sadeq was a wonderful husband, as well as a devoted father, and he dearly loved his family. We cannot put into words the depth of our loss.
"He loved his work and was dedicated to supporting his patients and his colleagues.
"As a family we are extremely appreciative for all the kind words and messages we have received. We would like to take this time to grieve in private."
Close friends said Mr Elhowsh, whose well-known catchphrase was "Don't worry, I will sort it," had died yesterday evening.
Mr Elhowsh had been fighting for his life on a ventilator for weeks, colleagues also said.
Tributes were paid to the medic, who worked in trauma and orthopaedics, and who was described as a "true gentleman" by devastated friends.
So far, an amazing £27,500 has been raised for Mr Elhowsh's family within just 10 hours, and to support his eldest son who has just been accepted into medical school, pals added.
It was set up by his close friend, colleague and fellow consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ravi Gudena.
In his moving tribute, on behalf of colleagues, he said: "Sadeq Elhowsh is our dear friend and colleague and a caring orthopaedic doctor at Whiston Hospital [who] succumbed to Covid 19 on 20th April 2020.
"He is a true gentleman, loving father and husband.
"He is a very valuable member of the orthopaedic team at Whiston Hospital.
"He is always there to help any one .. and his famous quote is "don’t worry, I will sort it."
"He was well respected by all the patients, and dearly loved by all the staff, colleagues and juniors.
"He is a proud father of four sons and the eldest been offered medical school admission this year, which he is so proud of.
"He left us before he can cherish the moments of seeing his son as medical graduate.
"We are raising funds to support his family and his son’s medical education.
"May his soul rest In peace.
"We will forever miss you, Mr Elhowsh."
Another friend, himself a former orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, added: "Unlike Boris, he had caught coronavirus in the line of duty, serving the public of Knowsley and St Helens.
"Sadly, despite the truly heroic efforts of the intensive care staff in his own hospital, he succumbed and leaves a grieving young family.
"When I was working, he was appointed by me, he stood by me and supported our unit during its darkest times when it was potentially going to fall apart and be disbanded.
It is something that has, at some point, touched all our lives.
From cradle to grave, the National Health Service, and the incredible professionals within it who care for us, is a part of British life.
Today, more than ever, we should cherish those who dedicate themselves to our care, heedless of their own health as they work tirelessly to care for people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nurses and others – employed by the NHS and any other part of health and care – we have never needed them more.
So let’s show them some love, and create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.
Click HERE to drop a heart on the map, and show you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS.
Thanks a million, NHS workers – we love you.
"He was a caring and very experienced doctor, dedicated, enthusiastic and hard working, despite being kicked in the teeth by the system as a whole on many occasions.
"As a permanent member of staff, but a staff grade doctor, he was one of my “children” for whom I became educationally responsible….
"Now his struggle has ended.
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"May he rest in paradise.
"Please help his young family."
Ann Marr, the Trust's chief executive, said: “Sadeq will be sadly missed by all who knew and worked with him.
"He was without doubt a much loved member of the team. All our thoughts are with Sadeq’s family and friends at this time and we offer them our sincere condolences.”
Well-wishers and those who knew Mr Elhowsh paid further tributes to him.
Sadeea Kaleem said: "I taught brother Sadeq’s sons, and I have never met such a loving and caring father.
"He gave me endless duas [Muslim prayer].
"This news is truly heartbreaking."
To contribute to the fund for Sadeq's family visit here