NAT SC Dr Eleanor McCarthy-1608959881665
Dr Eleanor McCarthy with her husband Chris McCarthy (right - both in blue), with golf pros (from left) Tommy Fleetwood, Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It was one of the most thoughtful and compassionate gesture extended by DP World to a frontline COVID-19 warrior ahead of the forthcoming DP World Golf Tour Championships.

Ahead of the DP World Golfing Championships, Dr Eleanor McCarthy, a family medicine consultant at King’s College Hospital of London, in Dubai, was invited on one recent afternoon, to the Jumeirah Golf Estates. She thought it was for an interview with the European Tour and talk on impact of COVID-19 on the medical community in Dubai.

Teeing off with her sports idols

However, the keen golfer and great fan of the sport, Dr McCarthy was in for pleasant surprise when she was invited by Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter. Poulter actually had enlisted the help of two- time DP World Tour Championship winner Henrik Stenson, and Dr McCarthy’s favourite player, Tommy Fleetwood to complete the four-ball quartet.

It was as big as it could get for Dr McCarthy, a Dubai resident of five years who had recently been through a tough and challenging period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three of the biggest names of golf who were playing an ultimate round of golf with her!

Dr McCarthy told Gulf News: “I come from Northern Island where golf is a popular sport and I have grown up watching the game. I love golf and for the last few years have been playing the game a bit. I am a member of the Emirates Golf Club and the Chairman of the club had told me that they were looking for a frontline COVID-19 doctor to discuss about the recent challenges during the pandemic. He had given my name for the talk. I went there with the thought that I would be sharing my COVID -19 experiences. But meeting my golfing idols was and playing a game with them was totally amazing, unforgettable and a humbling experience.”

Doctor on the marquee

The experience was arranged by DP World and the European Tour as a way of recognising and rewarding the hard work and sacrifice that Dr McCarthy and so many of her colleagues and co-workers in Dubai had to make during the global pandemic.

Dr Eleanor McCarthy

Since the beginning of the pandemic this year, Dr McCarthy, the mother of three young kids, had to keep herself in isolation from friends and family during the first three to four months as she was treating patients. However, she thinks there were many other doctors facing the challenge. “I was lucky to be the chosen one at the golfing game, but there were many other doctors who had to struggle in the early phases of the pandemic. I had to take care to isolate myself from my kids and husband, when I came home in the evenings, taking a shower, taking care to discard all the clothes,” recounted Dr McCarthy.

Isolating as a family

Sweeping aside her emotions, she had to isolate herself to the extent possible. “I was living in the same house but kept away as much as I could, from my family as much as possible. It was tough. We, as a family, also did not meet our friends for over four months to mitigate any risk of transmission of any potential infection that I may have been carrying,” said Dr McCarthy. Her rewarding golf experience was filmed as part of a short documentary to highlight the amazing work that frontline heroes have done to combat the pandemic globally.

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Dr Eleanor McCarthy with her idol Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter. Image Credit: Supplied

Poulter, DP World Ambassador, said: “After hearing about Dr Ellie’s story, it was an honour to meet her and give a little something back to someone who had sacrificed so much. Our world has been turned upside down this year but it is thanks to Ellie and so many others that our situations are improving. There are hundreds of thousands of incredible doctors and nurses around the world that are doing remarkable jobs and it was a pleasure for me to give her an experience she could truly enjoy.”

An incredible experience

Dr McCarthy, who found the afternoon very de-stressing and enjoyable, said, “Meeting some of the world’s best golfers and playing a round of golf with them was an incredible experience.” Modestly dismissing her contribution to the pandemic, Dr McCarthy said, “I don’t work half as hard as lots of other frontline workers do, but thank you for a great day off. It has been lovely to have a proper smile on my face for a day. I cannot remember the last time when I completely forgot about the work, so today has been amazing. There is so much more work to be done and I feel privileged that I’ve got a little bit rest today.”

Thank you doc

English golfer Lee Westwood almost made a cameo appearance on the day to speak with Ellie and pass on his thanks. He said, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to spend some time with Dr Ellie today. She is a keen golfer and deserves a little treat for all she has gone through this year. Without people like her, we would have been in incredible trouble. This year has been tough enough as it is, but Ellie and other doctors and nurses are like angels that are helping us and keeping us safe.”