University Hospital in Brooklyn has seen its share of deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, but one loss has shaken the staff to its core.
"He was the backbone of our institution. The heart and soul. And he really gave everyone moral direction," SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Dr. Robert Foronjy said.
Dr. James Mahoney, a pulmonary and critical care physician, began his career as a student at University Hospital back in 1982 -- and never left.
Colleagues like Dr. Foronjy, say Mahoney was smart, compassionate and giving. He tirelessly worked day and night shifts at University Hospital and Kings County Hospital just across the street.
Sadly, the 62-year-old doctor was unable to save himself. He died from COVID-19 at the end of April.
"Even in his final days, he was texting us ... are you guys OK," Mahoney's daughter, Stephanie Mahoney, said.
Dr. Mahoney was the father of three children, who say they never felt short-changed by the time their father spent at the hospital.
"My dad was like my hero to me. He was a baseball player, I wanted to be a baseball player," Mahoney's son, Ryan Mahoney, said. "He was a doctor, I ended up going to medical school."
Stephanie Mahoney says her father always made her feel safe and that he always made sure that she had whatever she needed.
"That was like his calling, he loved to take care of people," Ryan Mahoney said. "I mean, he died doing what he loved. So I have peace in knowing that."
The hospital has set up a GoFundMe page for a scholarship in Dr. Mahoney's name.
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