An Appreciation: Enda McDermott

Gifted surgeon was one of the finest medical intellects on this island

Enda McDermott (February 1954–May 2021), consultant surgeon at St Vincent’s University Hospital, was one of the finest medical intellects on this island. An academic colossus, but also one of those rare individuals who combined a first-class scientific mind with a caring and compassionate personality. He had an unrivalled understanding of medicine from the basic sciences to whole genomic sequencing and CRISPR technology. Medical research fascinated him and he was impatient to know if changes reported in the laboratory would translate into better treatments and outcomes for his patients.

A technically gifted surgeon, he combined innate surgical skills with an encyclopedic anatomical memory. He had a passion for education and inspired his students to achieve their best, not only for themselves but for their patients.

As a mentor and friend, he was the calm and reassuring voice that gently steered us back on course, the steady intra-operatively head and hand, who laughed afterwards and told you “surgery was like hang-gliding, great when it was over”. He was the surgeon who “popped into” Holles Street or the Coombe hospital, on his way home and the man who would do house calls on an elderly patient because they couldn’t get to him.

Enda was one of life’s true gentleman. He was wonderfully cheerful, approachable and welcoming to anyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He always, for new and old arrivals in St Vincent’s alike, had time to stop, talk and listen.


The professional legacy he leaves behind is a generation of Irish medics, not surgeons; medics who have been inspired to think, examine and question every day and strive to be better.

To many he was Mr McDermott the gifted surgeon, educator and mentor; but equally, to all of us he was simply Enda, a calm and reassuring presence, a much-loved and loyal friend. Enda has made an outstanding contribution to surgical research, teaching and patient care, the worldwide medical community is a darker and sadder place for his untimely passing. If you need an expert doctor and surgeon who will care of you with skill and total commitment, pray for an Enda McDermott.

Above all else, Enda was a devoted husband and best friend of Annette and a loving father of Sarah, Aisling, Conor, Brian, Eoin and Emma. He brightened their days with his love of life, endless humour, words of wisdom, charisma and unconditional love.

Enda will be greatly missed by his loving wife, children and sons-in-law Mike and Declan, grandchildren, together with his siblings and all his extended family, friends, colleagues and patients in St Vincent’s hospital.