Dr Maniram Rampaul, who recently succumbed to COVID-19, was well-loved by many in Rio Claro. (Image courtesy the Rampaul Family)
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Beloved Rio Claro physician, Dr Maniram Rampaul, has died from COVID-19, leaving the entire community in mourning.

Dr Rampaul had worked in the rural community for over 50 years and because of high levels of poverty, he often saw his patients for free.

Speaking with Guardian Media earlier today, his grieving wife Vydia Rampaul said Dr Rampaul fell ill last week Wednesday, after testing positive with COVID-19. He was admitted to the Couva Hospital & Multi-Training Facility on Thursday, but by Friday, he had taken a turn for the worse.

Vydia said on Sunday while hospitalized, Dr Rampaul called them and spoke to his second granddaughter with whom he had a very close relationship.

His condition did not improve and between 5:30 and 6:00 pm on Monday, he passed away.

“He worked in Rio Claro for over 50 years. He would serve his patients selflessly. He was a doctor whose patients would come without money. He had no distinction for rich or poor. He served with love,” Vydia said, describing her husband’s legacy.

Wiping away tears, she called on citizens to observe the COVID-19 protocols and the public health regulations as the increase in COVID-19 cases was putting a strain on medical personnel.

“These doctors in these facilities are overworked. My heart goes out to them. They are risking their lives and these people are not heeding the advice. They are not heeding it. It is not fair… it is not right,” Vydia said.

She explained that she did not know how her husband contracted the virus.

“He bought a nano gun, and he had all temperatures checked. He would sanitize all patients when they come in. I really cannot say how he got it or where he got it, but he always took the relevant precautions,” she added.

Vydia said her husband worked as the District Medical Officer for Mayaro for many years, and also served as the president of the Shri Satya Sai Baba organisation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Businessman Nasser Khan told Guardian Media that Dr Rampaul deserved a posthumous national award for his contribution to the community of Rio Claro.

Dr Rampaul’s funeral is tentatively carded for 2:00 pm on Wednesday, at Belgroves Funeral Home.