After months of working on the front lines treating patients with COVID-19, Dr. Joseph Costa, the chief of the critical care division at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, died of the virus Saturday as his husband held him, according to The Baltimore Sun.
About 20 colleagues at the hospital were at his side holding a vigil for 56-year-old Costa before his death.
“Those who cared for Joe were his best friends,” said Costa’s husband of 28 years, David Hart. “A housekeeper who knelt by his bed and shook with grief said, ‘I’m now losing my best friend.’”
Mercy Medical Center released a statement regarding his commitment to helping others.
“Joe was more than a trusted colleague; he was also a true friend to many. He dedicated his life and career to caring for the sickest patients,” board member Sister Helen Amos wrote in the statement. “And when the global pandemic came down upon 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.”
Having graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1990, Costa began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1997. He specialized in pulmonary and critical care and was the chief of the critical care unit for 15 years.
A pianist who loved reading, Costa was fluent in German and Italian, according to the Sun.
“I keep thinking, now there is one less ICU doctor to care for pandemic patients in Baltimore,” Hart said. “I get so angry when I see people not wearing masks. It makes me want to take a bar of soap and write on my car’s rearview window that ‘My husband who saved so many lives died of COVID-19. Wear a mask!’”