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Vale Dr Tom Mulholland

5 November 2023
Dr Tom Mulholland, a celebrity physician and beloved Kiwi campaigner for physical and mental health, died suddenly at the weekend. Known affectionately as Dr Tom, the medical practitioner had helped hundreds of thousands of people globally over the past three decades including working alongside forestry workers in the bush – from the very top to the lower part of New Zealand, over many years.Mulholland hosted his own TV and radio shows, wrote two best-selling books and was a professional speaker for the likes of Google, Microsoft and Hilton. He worked as an emergency doctor for 25 years and was also an honorary lecturer in psychological medicine at the University of Auckland. He was also an Emergency Department Doctor and GP for over 25 years and has practised from an Auckland Hospital, rural New Zealand towns, the Chatham Islands and worked in Antarctic, Arctic and Indo-Pacific as a ship’s doctor and expedition leader.

Mulholland’s website – “Dr. Tom on a Mission” – says that during his time working in emergency departments, he recognised that many patients visiting hospitals had preventable illnesses.

“Whilst he could often prolong their lives by a few years, months or sometimes only weeks, he realised most of the damage had already been done. With this knowledge and a passion to help people, Dr Tom set out to become the ambulance at the top of the cliff, rather than the bottom”.

He left school in 1979 to join the New Zealand Forest Service and become a forester, the website says. He discovered his passion was helping people, so completed a first-class honours degree in molecular genetics at the University of Canterbury, then graduated with a medical degree from the University of Otago in 1989.

“His love of surfing and the mountains took him to Taranaki where he was an orthopaedic and general surgical registrar, gained a diploma in sports medicine, started his own general practice and founded Taranaki’s first accident and medical clinic, White Cross. He also started Doctor Global and was the first in the world to do online consultations last century, won numerous business awards and featured on 60 Minutes twice.”

From all those in the forestry industry who’s lives had been turned around after being tested out the back of that old Chevy ambulance that Tom used as a pop-up medical clinic, a big thanks. You’ll be missed and so many in our, and other industries, owe our health and in many instances, our lives to your tireless efforts.

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