#FacesOfCOVID: Dr. Joseph Costa was the intensive care unit chief at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. He died there on July 25th of COVID-19, surrounded by admiring colleagues and staff, and his husband of 28 years. He was 56 years old.
“He dedicated his life and career to caring for the sickest patients,” Sister Helen Amos, chair of the hospital’s board of trustees said. “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 great time of need.”
As the deadly virus spread, Dr. Costa continued to work on the frontlines despite having a rare autoimmune disorder. The virus had already sickened another physician and several staff members in the ICU. “I begged him not to go to work,” his husband David Hart said. Dr. Costa began showing COVID-19 symptoms on June 26th and was diagnosed the next day. He went to the hospital and then returned home where he was placed on steroids. His condition worsened, and he was brought back to Mercy where he was put on a ventilator and later slipped into a coma.
“I kept thinking, now there is one less ICU doctor to take care of pandemic patients in Baltimore,” Mr. Hart said. “He loved his job more than anything in the world. Joe gave of himself, his time, talent and treasure. He was a very egalitarian person who when he did the scheduling made sure he worked Thanksgiving and Christmas and when I would ask why, he’d say ‘We don’t have children and these folks do.’” Rest In Peace, Dr. Costa. You mattered.