Tributes have been paid to a long-serving doctor in Dublin, who may be the first general practitioner (GP) to die with Covid-19 if his death is officially attributed to the virus.
The Irish Times reports that Paul McDermott (57) from Rathfarnham treated patients from his surgery on Glendoher Road for more than 20 years.
Mr McDermott tested positive for Covid-19 after his sudden death at home in early January.
Deaths are counted as Covid-19 deaths if confirmed by a positive test, or if the virus played a role in a person’s death in the opinion of a medical practitioner.
Mr McDermott’s family are currently waiting for the result of a postmortem.
His brother, Ray, said Mr McDermott had been treating patients with Covid-19 in the weeks before he died.
‘Warm, witty and compassionate’
Hundreds have paid tribute to Dr McDermott online, including former patients, colleagues and friends.
One former patient said “he was more than a family doctor, he was a friend and confidant, irrespective of how busy it was”.
Another described him as “kind, loyal, warm, witty and compassionate”.
The GP comes from a family tradition of practising medicine, with his mother Sarah MacAuley opening a GP surgery in Rathfarnham in the late 1960s.
“Paul, along with my mother, worked for many years in the community; she for 50 years now, and he for over 20,” his brother Ray McDermott, who is an oncologist, said.
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Ms MacAuley, who is now in her 90s, continued to work alongside her late son until recently, Ray added.
According to official figures, 11 healthcare workers have so far died with Covid-19.
Among the most recent healthcare worker deaths are Mariter Tarugo, a healthcare assistant at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin; and Bernie McAndrew, a nurse in Belmullet, Co Mayo.
More than 6,800 healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19 since Christmas — one in 10 of all positive cases.