Leading heart surgeon at Cardiff hospital dies after contracting coronavirus

Tributes have been paid to one of Wales' leading heart surgeons after he died following a positive test for Covid-19.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said on Monday evening that Jitendra Rathod, a cardiac surgeon, was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, before being taken to intensive care.

However, despite the best efforts of his colleagues, Mr Rathod died on Monday morning.

He is thought to be the first healthworker in Wales to die following a Covid-19 diagnosis.

Dr. Jitendra Rathod worked at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

In a statement, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: "It is with profound sadness that we must inform you that Mr Jitendra Rathod, associate specialist in cardiothoracic surgery, has passed away.

"He died early this morning on our general intensive care unit after testing positive for Covid-19."

Mr Rathod - known to colleagues and friends as 'Jitu' - worked in the department of cardio-throacic surgery since the mid 1990s. He later had a brief stint abroad before retuning to UHW in 2006.

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Cardiff and Vale University Health Board posted a tribute to Mr Rathod.

Credit: Cardiff and Vale University Health Board tribute

BMA Cymru Wales also paid tribute to Mr Rathod. Chair Dr David Bailey said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Rathod on 6 April.

“Our condolences go out to Dr Rathod’s family, friends and colleagues.

“His death will be felt across the medical community as we grapple with the devastating impact of Covid-19 on our communities.”

The father-of-two was described as an "incredibly dedicated surgeon" who cared deeply for his patients and was highly regarded in the medical profession in Wales.

"He was well-liked and and greatly respected by one and all," the health board statement added.

"He was very compassionate and a wonderful human being. His commitment to the speciality was exemplary."

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

The news comes on the day Public Health Wales announced 27 further deaths related to the virus - bringing the country's total to 193.