The chief of critical care at a Baltimore hospital who helped treat the “sickest” patients, even during the pandemic, died Saturday of the coronavirus.
Dr. Joseph Costa, 56, was the head of the intensive care unit at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. The hospital confirmed his death in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday.
“She dedicated her life and career to caring for the sickest patients,” Sister Helen Amos, president of the hospital’s board of directors, and David Maine, president and CEO, said in a joint statement. “When the global pandemic seized 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 as an example for all of us,” said the hospital.
Costa had worked for Mercy for 23 years, becoming head of critical care in 2005. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, David Hart.
“I keep thinking, ‘Now there is one less doctor in the ICU to care for pandemic patients in Baltimore,'” Hart told The Baltimore Sun.
One of Costa’s medical school classmates, Dr. Amy Zimmerman, told NB Baltimore affiliate WBAL that her tragic death should serve as a reminder of the severity of the pandemic.
“This is real. He was a healthy 56-year-old man. He knew how to take care. He knew how to take good care of himself and still passed away from this disease,” he said. “This could happen to anyone.”
Maryland has had more than 85,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 3,500 deaths, according to the NBC News count. The numbers of new cases began to decline in June, but have increased once again in July, figures from the Maryland Department of Health show.
Costa is among more than 850 health workers who have died from COVID-19, according to a joint count by Kaiser Health News and The Guardian.