Family of Pakistani doctor who lost life battling coronavirus pay her glittering tributes

Murtaza Ali Shah
Dr Mamoona Rana, who died in UK while taking care of COVID-19 patients. —  Photo by author

LONDON: The grieving family of British Pakistani Dr Mamoona Rana has paid a heartfelt tribute to the dedicated and popular doctor, who has become UK's first female doctor to sacrifice her life after contracting the novel coronavirus while saving National Health Service (NHS) patients during her services as a frontline worker.

Dr Rana’s face has become the defining image of the horror NHS frontline workers face in the line of duty.

The female doctor, 48, was originally from Lahore and lived in East London with her husband Dr Azeem Qureshi, and the couple’s eight-year-old daughter.

Dr Qureshi, who is a senior doctor at the Newham Hospital, paid a touching tribute to his wife and explained how Dr Rana's condition rapidly deteriorated. He confirmed that his wife contracted the virus while they both were working on the frontline.

Dr Qureshi told that Dr Rana developed COVID-19 symptoms on April 8. Two days later, both of them had tested positive for coronavirus. On April 11, Dr Rana started having breathing difficulties and was taken to Whips Cross Hospital's Accident and Emergency (A&E) in East London.

She was then shifted to Princess Alexandra Hospital on April 11 and put on a ventilator as she faced breathing problems. She passed away on April 16.

Dr Qureshi said: “Dr Rana was a remarkable woman who always held her head high and gave hope and joy endlessly to those around her. She was the loveliest wife and mother of our daughter. She was unique in her poise, grace, intelligence, soft nature, and beauty. I will miss her forever.”

Dr Qureshi shared that not only his wife's family but the entire community of friends and colleagues are devastated and mourning her passing. 

Photo by author

“Mamoona was very popular at her workplace, in the community of friends and colleagues, in the neighbourhood and in our family. She was fit and well. She was always full of life and she spread joy all the time. She was a born optimist who was driven by the passion of serving humanity. She had so many plans for us and our daughter. It’s a state of complete helplessness,” he said.

Dr Qureshi added: “To Allah’s will we submit and we seek solace and forbearance from Him.”

Dr Rana came to the United Kingdom with her husband around 15 years ago. She did MBBS from Punjab Medical College Faisalabad and MSc from City University London before starting working for the NHS. She worked in different sections of the NHS in a career of distinction. Dr Rana was a passionate artist who painted Islamic calligraphy as well.

The deceased doctor was working in the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT). The chief executive at the NELFT, Professor Oliver Shanley OBE, in his tribute message, said: “She was a highly-regarded, enormously-valued, professional and committed doctor who will be hugely missed by her colleagues.”

The chair of General Medical Council Dame Clare Marx said: “Dr Rana was to make a major contribution to the wellbeing of our society. Over her career, Dr Rana impacted the lives of thousands of patients.”

Photo by author

Dr Rana comes from an illustrious family of professionals. Her older brother Maqsood Hassan has served as a senior police officer in FIA and the police as SSP Islamabad and Director General (DG) FIA. spoke to Dr Mamoona Rana’s brother Hassan who shared the family's sadness over her passing.

Hasaan said that Mamoona was loving, dedicated, and popular. “She was full of life and from a very young age, she was driven with the passion of helping patients. It was her passion for helping others that drove her and she decided to become a doctor.”