A beloved Mexico City doctor passed away last week at the age of just 38 after contracting Covid-19 while treating patients with the contagious disease.
José Porras González, an emergency doctor at the IMSS 30 General Hospital in the borough of Iztacalco, died on April 21, eight days after he began feeling unwell.
Before falling ill, Porras had been treating coronavirus patients for three weeks, the newspaper El Universal reported, noting that he had to buy his own personal protective equipment because there was none at the hospital.
Pepe, as the doctor was known to his many friends and colleagues, initially isolated himself at his home after he developed Covid-19 symptoms but was hospitalized when his condition deteriorated.
Porras suffered from both diabetes and obesity, conditions that made him particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than 225,000 people around the world.
A 24-year-old niece of the doctor who said that Porras had been like a father figure to her after she lost her dad told El Universal that her uncle sacrificed his life to care for others.
“He wanted to be on the front line because his mission was always to save people’s lives, … he had a great desire to help people,” said Jazmín Porras.
She said that he had no fear of treating Covid-19 patients, explaining that he was in fact excited to be in a position to help Mexico respond to the pandemic. Porras loved his job with IMSS – the Mexican Social Security Institute – she added, explaining that he met his wife there.
The passing of the doctor, a medicine graduate of the National Autonomous University, triggered an outpouring of emotion from his colleagues and friends.
A video posted to social media shows Porras’ colleagues at the Iztacalco General Hospital paying their respects to their fallen friend with a round of applause. A photograph of the doctor now adorns the entrance to the health care facility alongside a banner that reads: “So long, Dr. Pepe Porras. Thank you.”
Friends and colleagues of the doctor, an avid soccer fan and devoted father, also paid tribute to him on social media.
“Thank you for your friendship, for always giving everything for your colleagues and patients,” wrote one person.
“With profound pain and my heart broken, I say goodbye to my friend and excellent colleague, the beloved Dr. Pepe Porras, an excellent doctor with a human quality like few others, a person with values, ethics and professionalism,” said another.
“He was the first … to support me and help me with the most seriously ill patients,” said an emergency room colleague.
“He always worked extra shifts, public holidays, extra hours and he never left until he finished [treating] all his patients. [He was] sensitive, warm, humble, always smiling, always positive, never said ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t have time.’”