Doctor who 'selflessly' cared for 'sickest patients' dies of coronavirus
The chief of critical care at a Baltimore hospital who helped treat the "sickest" patients, including during the pandemic, died on Saturday of the coronavirus.
Dr. Joseph Costa, 56, was ICU chief at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. The hospital confirmed his death in a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday.
“He dedicated his life and career to caring for the sickest patients,” Sister Helen Amos, chair of the hospital’s board of trustee, and David Maine, president and CEO, said in a joint statement. “When the global pandemic came down upon us, Joe selflessly continued his work on the front lines — deeply committed to serving our patients and our City during this time of great need.”
“His memory will live on as an example to us all,” the hospital said.
Costa had worked for Mercy for 23 years, becoming chief of critical care in 2005. He is survived by his husband of 28 years, David Hart.
“I keep thinking, 'Now there is one less ICU doctor to care for pandemic patients in Baltimore,'” Hart told The Baltimore Sun.
One of his medical school classmates, Dr. Amy Zimmerman, told NBC Baltimore affiliate WBAL that his tragic death should serve as a reminder of the seriousness of the pandemic.
"This is real. This was a 56-year-old healthy man. He knew how to be careful. He knew how to take good care of himself, and he still passed away from this disease,” Zimmerman said. “This could happen to anybody.”
Maryland has had more than 85,000 cases of the coronavirus and almost 3,500 deaths, according to NBC News' tally. The numbers of new cases were beginning to dip in June, but have been rising once more in July, Maryland Health Department figures show.
Costa is among over 850 health care workers who have died of COVID-19, according to a joint tally by Kaiser Health News and The Guardian.