NSMC News Releases
Salem, Mass. – Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Thomas Mulroy, 38, was in Chiclayo, Peru, where he cared for indigenous residents in a makeshift clinic in an abandoned warehouse without modern tools or electricity. Making the best of rudimentary resources, he and his team pushed three chairs together to form an exam table and used a flashlight app and college-level Spanish to provide expert medical care to local patients, many of whom are migrant workers and families of the remote villages in Central and South America. Seeing firsthand the disparities in healthcare access and technology in non-industrialized countries has inspired the primary care sports medicine doctor to do more.
Dr. Thomas Mulroy with local Peruvians from the Cusco area where he climbed Rainbow Mountain in between seeing patients at the clinic.
Pictured left: Dr. Mulroy gives a trigger point injection to an elderly patient who went to the clinic for hip pain from chronic overuse and osteoarthritis.
The nearest hospital for most people is hours away and only accessible if they are lucky enough to have transportation,” says Dr. Mulroy, a North Shore Physicians Group doctor who was introduced to the volunteer program when working as an urgent care physician in New York City several years ago. “In these remote communities, we see a lot of dietary, skeletal and muscular issues. We bring what supplies and medications we can with us, but it never feels like enough. More volunteers are needed to meet people where they live and provide the care these residents need to survive.
Dr. Mulroy typically sees patients at the North Shore Physicians Group practice in Beverly, MA, which is affiliated with Salem Hospital and Mass General Brigham. This was the fifth year he has traveled with a group of physicians, physician assistants, medical students and other clinicians through FNE International, a nonprofit that partners with communities in developing nations to advance housing, health and education. His fiancé, Patrick Calder, and North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) colleague, Katherine Moskal, an athletic trainer, joined him.
Moskal and Dr. Mulroy stand with fellow volunteers and local policemen who served as translators beside tables between their beds which served as injection sites at the clinic.
On a typical day at his Beverly practice, Dr. Mulroy will see up to 20 patients. During this trip to Peru, he estimates seeing more than 100 a day, a high volume considering how difficult it is for the local farmers, loggers, and other laborers to take time off and afford to see a doctor. Dr. Mulroy joined six other medical providers working in clinics reaching five Peruvian villages in the area. “These people are truly heroic,” says Mulroy, “and they teach me so much about happiness and resilience.” His colleague, Moskal, enjoyed the extra honor of having her 51st birthday celebrated while on the mission trip.
Moskal and Dr. Mulroy pose for a picture outside the clinic
“It was an EPIC day,” says Moskal. “We saw more than 250 patients among all of the providers, but when the mayor of that community heard it was my birthday, she presented me with a cake. When we returned to the place we were staying, they threw a huge party for me. I had my own cake, there was music and dancing and decorations. COVID pretty much ruined my 50th, but this so made up for it! Trips like this remind me of how fortunate we are in this country. We have so much and we take so much for granted. It was incredible to watch those who have so little continue to live such full and happy lives.”
Throughout the calendar year, Dr. Mulroy raises money to pay for mission trips and sponsor other volunteers to join him. He also participates in triathlons, training that came in handy during his down time in Peru when he hiked Rainbow Mountain, 17,000 feet above sea-level. To learn more about the need and support Dr. Mulroy’s work with FNE International, the public can visit: www.fneinternational.org