At the start of this year, Dr. James A. Mahoney was preparing to retire after nearly 40 years working in the intensive care unit of a New York City hospital. When the pandemic hit, relatives and even fellow doctors urged the 62-year-old to stick to his plans. Instead, he worked day and night on the frontlines until a COVID-19 infection made it impossible to continue. He died on April 27 after being treated at University Hospital of Brooklyn, his workplace, where he started out as a medical student in 1982, the New York Times reports. Colleagues say Mahoney was a much-loved and incredibly dedicated doctor, who continued consulting with patients online even after he developed a fever and had to self-isolate.
Throughout his career, Mahoney turned down job opportunities that would have taken him away from the underfunded, state-run hospital. "He gave everything to that hospital," brother Melvin Mahoney, a doctor who retired in 2014, tells the Washington Post. "He gave his life for that hospital." Mahoney's boss. Dr. Robert F. Foronjy, says older doctors were given the opportunity to step back. "It just seems so unjust that someone who was this benevolent, this selfless, this kind, this skilled could be brought down by this disease," says Foronjy, who has started a GoFundMe fundraiser for a memorial scholarship for an aspiring African-American physician. Foronjy says Mahoney died with colleagues by his bedside. "I was able to hold his hand, tell him how much I loved him, how much everybody loved him," he says. (Read more coronavirus stories.)