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Face to Face with Eithne McCord. Thomas Edison, the great inventor, (1847 – 1931), is quoted as saying: ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease’. When I chatted to Eithne McCord, wife of Doctor David McCord, Aughnacloy, she made a similar statement, which would indicate that Edison’s prophecy is coming true. She claims that the role of the doctor has changed and that there is a big move away from the traditional treating of patients to the new health promotion and disease prevention and keeping people out of hospital. Then we have a quote from Livingston, who says that ‘the field of Western medicine has become literally nothing but medicine. Doctors are on their way out, to be replaced by self-serve pharmaceutical vending machines’ and we could add ‘and drugs bought over the internet’. Family Eithne McCord, nee Wright, came from the townland of Elvey, in the County of Monaghan. The Wright family were formerly in Glassmullagh but moved to Elvey. Indeed there was a Wright family re-union quite recently and members came from all over including England. Eithne was the youngest of three children (sister, Hilda, and brother, Gordon) and remembers that times were tough those days. Many of the protestant faith were moving to Northern Ireland and her father, Willie, almost made the same decision but since he had inherited the farm from his father he decided to stay put and make the best of it. Her mother was Annie, nee Hall, from Errigal Shanco and was a great amateur historian, as well as a great wife and mother. In the 19th century there were three landlords in the area – the Anketels, The Moutrays and Singletons. The Errigal Truagh Church was built in 1834 by the local people with the aid of a grant of £400 from the Church Board in Dublin, while the people themselves supplied the remainder, which was £261. The following year, 1835, the Singletons had Errigal Shanco built and then the Moutrays built another Errigal. There was only a mile or two between each of these three Churches and they were full for every service. Apart from these three families, and possibly the Pringles, there is no evidence that the protestant families of the area had wealth. Younger Days In the fifties families south of the border could look with envy at their cousins and friends to the north who had free health services and free education. This attracted many to move house and home, with the result that the full churches began to empty and local protestant schools were no longer viable. The small school beside Errigal Truagh church was closed by the time Eithne began her education and, with other children from protestant families in North Monaghan, she travelled by bus to Aughnacloy. She then attended Aughnacloy Secondary School for a while but changed to The Collegiate College in Monaghan. She was the youngest protestant in the area and had few opportunities to socialise with her own age group. On the journey to and from school in Monaghan she knew very few of the others on the bus and it is only now, due to her involvement in the Truagh Development Committee, that she is getting to know the people from that area. As a young girl she enjoyed life on the farm. She recalls a happy life, filled with animals, from which she developed a great love for animals. For games she used her imagination and invented her own entertainment as children did at the time. Her father was a great traditional Irish fiddler and loved all sorts of music. He taught himself how to play and read music. He had a fantastic talent and could play many musical instruments. Willie is now 93 years of age and in great form. His wife, Annie, passed away six years ago, which was a big blow to the family and especially to Willie. After her school days Eithne began working in Ulster Bank and was posted to the Antrim Road Branch. This was the early years of the conflict and this green young country girl found herself caught up in the middle of the troubles. The Branch suffered a number of armed robberies and once a bomb was placed and went off in the bank. This was a horrendous experience, as was life at the time, and one had to just switch into survival mode. She has written of her experiences and her hope is that we would never go back to that. She never told her family half of what happened as she did not want to worry them. After a number of years she was transferred to another branch and spent 13 years working in the Bank in total. Marriage While in Belfast she met a young man, who was studying medicine at Queens and they were to fall in love and get married. He was from Aughnacloy and is Dr. David McCord. Before they settled in Aughnacloy, where David would take over from his father, Dr. McCord Senior, they went on a world adventure, which lasted for a year. First they went to Canada and David was working as a doctor in a Hungarian Settlement in Prairies. This was an experience, as on many occasions the temperature went as low as -40 degrees. From there they flew to the warmer climate around San Francisco and then across to Fiji. After a month there it was on to Australia, where David worked as a locum doctor in Brisbane. They stayed there for four months before heading on to Thailand and Nepal. At the time she was involved in a project in the Nepalese hills and they visited that to see how it was progressing. They visited Hong Kong, back to Thailand and eventually home to Aughnacloy. Both loved travelling and seeing and experiencing other cultures. They still have that desire to travel and have many places that they wish to see. They hope that their health remains good and that they can go to South America, the Great Wall of China and other great wonders of the world. They would like to explore Egypt and David dreams of a train journey through India. Doctors David’s father was the traditional family doctor, who was available 24/7 365 days of the year and he had a great love for people and for medicine. His enjoyment and job satisfaction likely inspired David to follow the same vocation and now their daughter will follow the same route. But a doctor’s life has changed greatly in recent years. Dr. McCord Senior helped deliver many of the parents of his current patients around Aughnacloy and indeed some of them were born in the surgery itself. He worked with Miss Murphy on home deliveries. He still retains his great interest in the community and in people. However now there is a big move away from treating patients and instead the emphasis is on health promotion and disease prevention and keeping people out of hospital. This is not as interesting for some doctors and it is all about meeting targets and the fun may have gone out of it a little. David carried on from his father and it is only a few years ago that he joined the Out-Of-Hours scheme. This was difficult for him as he missed the out of hour’s work, which was always very fulfilling and challenging. For 24 years he was on duty on Christmas Day and that was never a problem, as people never abused it. Despite being aware of the huge commitment, their daughter was also aware that it was never a problem. In those days patients really did come first. Practice Manager Eithne gave up her work with the Bank to assist her husband in the practice. She took the telephone calls, received people at the door at all sorts of times and, in general, was a familiar face and voice for people, especially in emergencies. At that time the surgery was a room in the house, and accepted as that, but they needed to modernise and expand the space available and so a new surgery was built at the back of the building. Then in 1990 doctors were allowed to employ their wives in the practice and so Eithne became full time Practice Manager. She has now given up that job due to other commitments. She added that the introduction of the mobile phone, with call waiting and call transfer, was a terrific boon for doctors. Save our Hospital The McCord family have been very involved in the campaign to save the services at the South Tyrone hospital in Dungannon. The doctors would have had a very close relationship with the Consultants there and they worked as a team. This was excellent for patients as there was equal and immediate access to services. They also saw the importance of having the services within reach, especially in times of emergency, and they were very conscious of those living in rural areas beyond Aughnacloy. Eithne, because of her involvement with patients, understood their needs and became involved and was chairperson of the campaign group. Eventually they had to accept, not that the new systems were better for patients, but that they were fighting forces greater than they were and with more resources, which was very difficult. There have been many changes in medicine in recent years and, perhaps unfortunately but understandably, young doctors will not accept the work conditions of the older generation. Consultants now want to work in large units with large rotas in Belfast or Dublin and not in a small hospital. The threat of litigation has also forced the medical profession and health care facilities to change and cover themselves. However Eithne says that perhaps it will all change back again in the future. Community Activities Eithne is also very involved in her church activities and in the wider community. She was a founder member of the cross-community Playgroup and the Parent/Toddler Group in Aughnacloy, both of which are running very successfully. While her daughter was at the Primary school Eithne was chairperson of the Board of Governors. At the time the school was involved in a Cross-Border project with schools in Truagh. As a parent, whose daughter participated in the project, she was full of praise for the benefits the pupils derived from it and was disappointed that it was not continued by both Governments. Mary Devlin and Billy Tate were involved in that project. Church Matters In her younger days her father, mother or brother used take her to the YWCA on North Road, Monaghan, where Ms. Betty Montgomery taught her music. The late Betty was organist in Tyholland Church. Eithne has now been organist in Errigal Truagh Church for almost 40 years, having taken over from her brother. Due to declining numbers with the decreasing population, efforts are being made to preserve the churches. Glaslough, Tyholland and Errigal Truagh have amalgamated and are supporting each other to maintain services in all three churches. It is very sad to see any church going to ruin and she has found great support for this from the wider community. Indeed when an act of vandalism was carried out on Errigal Church a couple of years ago there was a great show of Christian love when a fund-raiser was held in St. Mellan’s GAA Complex. The funds raised were sufficient to repair all the damage. Whereas the Church would have been reserved in its community activity it is now spreading out and participating in community activities and in cross-community occasions. The Truagh Youth Choir and the Carrickroe Choir join them for special events as an example. She is also a member of Truagh Development Committee and they are doing great work and involved in many interesting projects. Next Tuesday, August 26th for example there will be an historical tour of local graveyards followed by a talk on the Anketel Family presented by Geraldine Treanor. The Future There has always been a close connection between the communities on both sides of the border around Aughnacloy but ‘the troubles’ was a dividing factor and the communities became isolated. She crossed the border on numerous occasions weekly over the years but it is only since the removal of all checkpoints that she can now travel to her home in minutes. The peace now reigning is terrific but many are still carrying a lot of hurt and especially those who feel that they have not received justice. More time is needed and we cannot force them to move on. She attended a conference lately, which was addressed by Dame Nuala O’Loane, where she stated that it is not right to demand people to move on and that we must respect that people are still grieving and that it may take a lifetime for that to change. She has seen many changes in all aspects of life so far and wonders about the future. The changes in education and in health should be assessed and worryingly she questions how we are going to look after an ever increasing aging population in a caring and acceptable manner. Systems need to be put in place and sooner rather than later. My thanks to Eithne and hopefully her wishes for the future all come about and we wish her well in her work. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer. This article is copyright
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Face to Face with Eithne McCord. Thomas Edison, the great inventor, (1847 – 1931), is quoted as saying: ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease’. When I chatted to Eithne McCord, wife of Doctor David McCord, Aughnacloy, she made a similar statement, which would indicate that Edison’s prophecy is coming true. She claims that the role of the doctor has changed and that there is a big move away from the traditional treating of patients to the new health promotion and disease prevention and keeping people out of hospital. Then we have a quote from Livingston, who says that ‘the field of Western medicine has become literally nothing but medicine. Doctors are on their way out, to be replaced by self-serve pharmaceutical vending machines’ and we could add ‘and drugs bought over the internet’. Family Eithne McCord, nee Wright, came from the townland of Elvey, in the County of Monaghan. The Wright family were formerly in Glassmullagh but moved to Elvey. Indeed there was a Wright family re-union quite recently and members came from all over including England. Eithne was the youngest of three children (sister, Hilda, and brother, Gordon) and remembers that times were tough those days. Many of the protestant faith were moving to Northern Ireland and her father, Willie, almost made the same decision but since he had inherited the farm from his father he decided to stay put and make the best of it. Her mother was Annie, nee Hall, from Errigal Shanco and was a great amateur historian, as well as a great wife and mother. In the 19th century there were three landlords in the area – the Anketels, The Moutrays and Singletons. The Errigal Truagh Church was built in 1834 by the local people with the aid of a grant of £400 from the Church Board in Dublin, while the people themselves supplied the remainder, which was £261. The following year, 1835, the Singletons had Errigal Shanco built and then the Moutrays built another Errigal. There was only a mile or two between each of these three Churches and they were full for every service. Apart from these three families, and possibly the Pringles, there is no evidence that the protestant families of the area had wealth. Younger Days In the fifties families south of the border could look with envy at their cousins and friends to the north who had free health services and free education. This attracted many to move house and home, with the result that the full churches began to empty and local protestant schools were no longer viable. The small school beside Errigal Truagh church was closed by the time Eithne began her education and, with other children from protestant families in North Monaghan, she travelled by bus to Aughnacloy. She then attended Aughnacloy Secondary School for a while but changed to The Collegiate College in Monaghan. She was the youngest protestant in the area and had few opportunities to socialise with her own age group. On the journey to and from school in Monaghan she knew very few of the others on the bus and it is only now, due to her involvement in the Truagh Development Committee, that she is getting to know the people from that area. As a young girl she enjoyed life on the farm. She recalls a happy life, filled with animals, from which she developed a great love for animals. For games she used her imagination and invented her own entertainment as children did at the time. Her father was a great traditional Irish fiddler and loved all sorts of music. He taught himself how to play and read music. He had a fantastic talent and could play many musical instruments. Willie is now 93 years of age and in great form. His wife, Annie, passed away six years ago, which was a big blow to the family and especially to Willie. After her school days Eithne began working in Ulster Bank and was posted to the Antrim Road Branch. This was the early years of the conflict and this green young country girl found herself caught up in the middle of the troubles. The Branch suffered a number of armed robberies and once a bomb was placed and went off in the bank. This was a horrendous experience, as was life at the time, and one had to just switch into survival mode. She has written of her experiences and her hope is that we would never go back to that. She never told her family half of what happened as she did not want to worry them. After a number of years she was transferred to another branch and spent 13 years working in the Bank in total. Marriage While in Belfast she met a young man, who was studying medicine at Queens and they were to fall in love and get married. He was from Aughnacloy and is Dr. David McCord. Before they settled in Aughnacloy, where David would take over from his father, Dr. McCord Senior, they went on a world adventure, which lasted for a year. First they went to Canada and David was working as a doctor in a Hungarian Settlement in Prairies. This was an experience, as on many occasions the temperature went as low as -40 degrees. From there they flew to the warmer climate around San Francisco and then across to Fiji. After a month there it was on to Australia, where David worked as a locum doctor in Brisbane. They stayed there for four months before heading on to Thailand and Nepal. At the time she was involved in a project in the Nepalese hills and they visited that to see how it was progressing. They visited Hong Kong, back to Thailand and eventually home to Aughnacloy. Both loved travelling and seeing and experiencing other cultures. They still have that desire to travel and have many places that they wish to see. They hope that their health remains good and that they can go to South America, the Great Wall of China and other great wonders of the world. They would like to explore Egypt and David dreams of a train journey through India. Doctors David’s father was the traditional family doctor, who was available 24/7 365 days of the year and he had a great love for people and for medicine. His enjoyment and job satisfaction likely inspired David to follow the same vocation and now their daughter will follow the same route. But a doctor’s life has changed greatly in recent years. Dr. McCord Senior helped deliver many of the parents of his current patients around Aughnacloy and indeed some of them were born in the surgery itself. He worked with Miss Murphy on home deliveries. He still retains his great interest in the community and in people. However now there is a big move away from treating patients and instead the emphasis is on health promotion and disease prevention and keeping people out of hospital. This is not as interesting for some doctors and it is all about meeting targets and the fun may have gone out of it a little. David carried on from his father and it is only a few years ago that he joined the Out-Of-Hours scheme. This was difficult for him as he missed the out of hour’s work, which was always very fulfilling and challenging. For 24 years he was on duty on Christmas Day and that was never a problem, as people never abused it. Despite being aware of the huge commitment, their daughter was also aware that it was never a problem. In those days patients really did come first. Practice Manager Eithne gave up her work with the Bank to assist her husband in the practice. She took the telephone calls, received people at the door at all sorts of times and, in general, was a familiar face and voice for people, especially in emergencies. At that time the surgery was a room in the house, and accepted as that, but they needed to modernise and expand the space available and so a new surgery was built at the back of the building. Then in 1990 doctors were allowed to employ their wives in the practice and so Eithne became full time Practice Manager. She has now given up that job due to other commitments. She added that the introduction of the mobile phone, with call waiting and call transfer, was a terrific boon for doctors. Save our Hospital The McCord family have been very involved in the campaign to save the services at the South Tyrone hospital in Dungannon. The doctors would have had a very close relationship with the Consultants there and they worked as a team. This was excellent for patients as there was equal and immediate access to services. They also saw the importance of having the services within reach, especially in times of emergency, and they were very conscious of those living in rural areas beyond Aughnacloy. Eithne, because of her involvement with patients, understood their needs and became involved and was chairperson of the campaign group. Eventually they had to accept, not that the new systems were better for patients, but that they were fighting forces greater than they were and with more resources, which was very difficult. There have been many changes in medicine in recent years and, perhaps unfortunately but understandably, young doctors will not accept the work conditions of the older generation. Consultants now want to work in large units with large rotas in Belfast or Dublin and not in a small hospital. The threat of litigation has also forced the medical profession and health care facilities to change and cover themselves. However Eithne says that perhaps it will all change back again in the future. Community Activities Eithne is also very involved in her church activities and in the wider community. She was a founder member of the cross- community Playgroup and the Parent/Toddler Group in Aughnacloy, both of which are running very successfully. While her daughter was at the Primary school Eithne was chairperson of the Board of Governors. At the time the school was involved in a Cross-Border project with schools in Truagh. As a parent, whose daughter participated in the project, she was full of praise for the benefits the pupils derived from it and was disappointed that it was not continued by both Governments. Mary Devlin and Billy Tate were involved in that project. Church Matters In her younger days her father, mother or brother used take her to the YWCA on North Road, Monaghan, where Ms. Betty Montgomery taught her music. The late Betty was organist in Tyholland Church. Eithne has now been organist in Errigal Truagh Church for almost 40 years, having taken over from her brother. Due to declining numbers with the decreasing population, efforts are being made to preserve the churches. Glaslough, Tyholland and Errigal Truagh have amalgamated and are supporting each other to maintain services in all three churches. It is very sad to see any church going to ruin and she has found great support for this from the wider community. Indeed when an act of vandalism was carried out on Errigal Church a couple of years ago there was a great show of Christian love when a fund-raiser was held in St. Mellan’s GAA Complex. The funds raised were sufficient to repair all the damage. Whereas the Church would have been reserved in its community activity it is now spreading out and participating in community activities and in cross-community occasions. The Truagh Youth Choir and the Carrickroe Choir join them for special events as an example. She is also a member of Truagh Development Committee and they are doing great work and involved in many interesting projects. Next Tuesday, August 26th for example there will be an historical tour of local graveyards followed by a talk on the Anketel Family presented by Geraldine Treanor. The Future There has always been a close connection between the communities on both sides of the border around Aughnacloy but ‘the troubles’ was a dividing factor and the communities became isolated. She crossed the border on numerous occasions weekly over the years but it is only since the removal of all checkpoints that she can now travel to her home in minutes. The peace now reigning is terrific but many are still carrying a lot of hurt and especially those who feel that they have not received justice. More time is needed and we cannot force them to move on. She attended a conference lately, which was addressed by Dame Nuala O’Loane, where she stated that it is not right to demand people to move on and that we must respect that people are still grieving and that it may take a lifetime for that to change. She has seen many changes in all aspects of life so far and wonders about the future. The changes in education and in health should be assessed and worryingly she questions how we are going to look after an ever increasing aging population in a caring and acceptable manner. Systems need to be put in place and sooner rather than later. My thanks to Eithne and hopefully her wishes for the future all come about and we wish her well in her work. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer. This article is copyright