Lives Lost to Covid-19: Paul McDermott was a caring GP who loved his patients

Paul, who died aged 57, treated patients from his surgery in Rathfarnham for more than 20 years

Paul McDermott

1963 - 2021

Paul McDermott loved being a GP and loved his patients, his brother Ray recalls. “He was kind to them and he worked with [his mother] Sadie [also a GP] to care for them for many years. The staff and patients in the surgery will miss him very much – maybe not his timekeeping for appointments but certainly his overall care.”

McDermott, who died aged 57, treated patients from his surgery on Glendoher Road in Rathfarnham, in Dublin, for more than 20 years. He tested positive for Covid-19 after his sudden death at home in early January.

Sadie had opened a GP surgery in Rathfarnham in the late 1960s, and the two worked together until recently.

Commonly known as "Polish", he was a "complex character but also simple in many ways", according to Ray. He had no children of his own and "wasn't mad about being in the limelight" but had many friends and was a devoted uncle to his nieces and nephews. He also loved seeing our extended family on both sides from Roscommon and Donegal.


After attending Terenure College, he studied medicine at University College Dublin and trained in hospitals in Dublin and Scotland upon qualifying, in 1990. He had been working at Rathfarnham Medical Practice since 1999.

Everyone had a funny story about Paul, his brother recalls, "whether it was the day he was working as an intern in St James's and couldn't find a wheelchair, so he wheeled the patient down to X-ray on a commode, or the time he took the kids Christmas shopping in Dundrum and ended up in Malahide".

“His filter didn’t work 100 per cent sometimes and you never knew what he was going to say next, but it would never be hurtful and he would likely make you laugh. Polish loved life, he loved to laugh, he loved stirring it up to get things going and he was good in a crowd.”

As a Leeds fan, he suffered for decades as the team floundered, until recent years. He followed Irish rugby and soccer around the world and went to Japan for the last Rugby World Cup.

Ray says his brother should be remembered “laughing and slagging and living life to the full, the chat and the craic. He loved all of that and he was good at it.”

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.