A day in the life of a Merck physician and volunteer during COVID-19

Dr. Ali is continuing to fight on the front lines of the disease, despite the risks to himself and his loved ones

August 3, 2020

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At the end of a long day spent treating COVID-19 patients at a London clinic, Dr. Muhammed “Mo” Ali tucks his 8-year-old daughter, Anya, into bed. Before saying goodnight, the father and daughter share their gratitudes for the day.  

“I’m grateful that I managed to get to clinic early today so it wasn’t a rush,” Dr. Ali tells Anya. “And I’m grateful that we managed to spend some time having dinner together as a family.”

Striking a balance between work and home life has been particularly challenging these past few months, for Dr. Ali, Merck’s managing director of Norway, who is taking time to volunteer at the clinic. Months into the pandemic, he and other medically trained Merck employees are continuing to fight on the front lines of the disease, despite the risks to themselves and their loved ones.

His day starts early, dashing to drop off daughter Anya and son Deen with their babysitter before heading to the clinic for a 10-hour shift. At the end of it, an exhausted Dr. Ali peels off his gloves as he prepares to return home to his family. “I’ll be having a shower before I get in,” he says, “throwing all my clothes into one place, as we all think around how not to take [the virus] home.”

Outside the clinic, Dr. Ali switches back into dad-mode. It’s a special day—Anya’s birthday—and the family celebrates with a bike ride and a video call with friends.

Still, thoughts of the virus are never far.

“It still stays in your mind as you think, ‘Am I symptomatic? What will I be like over the next few days?’” he says. “They are fleeting thoughts that come and go. But the piece that I do know is the help that I’ve offered the patients keeps, I suppose, my efforts so much more significant in terms of knowing that I’ve helped a number of people.”

Watch ‘A day in the life of Dr. Ali’

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