A well-respected and beloved New York doctor who delayed his retirement to help the battle the coronavirus has died after contracting the virus. As The New York Times reports, Dr. James Mahoney worked as a physician at the University Hospital of Brooklyn and the Kings County Hospital Center, and he died at age 62 after contracting the virus.
Student and younger doctors admired Mahoney, who personally delayed his retirement to help save lives in the battle against COVID-19. Even after he contracted the virus, he reportedly continued to check in with other doctors on the frontlines. "As a young black man, I looked at this guy and said to myself, 'Twenty years from now I want to be like him,'" said Mahoney's former student Latif A. Salam. "When a black medical student, a black resident sees him, he sees a hero. Someone that you can be one day. ... He's our Jay-Z."
In an interview with The Guardian, Mahoney's sister, Saundra Chisolm, added, "He told that to a lot of his residents who were people of color: you're just as smart of everyone else." She went on to explain that he treated everyone with the same level expect. When it came to his time to retire, his family believed he should call it a day because he would be vulnerable to the virus. However, he put his plans on hold so that he could work with coronavirus patients.
"There were people who were really reluctant to go into the rooms, and you could understand why," Mahoney's boss Dr. Robert F Foronjy told NYT. "He saw another human being in need, and he didn't hesitate to help." Mahoney died of the virus on April 27, and many have since labeled him as a hero. Just before the outbreak of COVID-19 impacted America, he went on a cruise with his family and told them that it was "probably gonna be my retirement cruise."
Following his death, Foronjy launched a GoFundMe to help raise money for a scholarship fund named in honor of Mahoney.