Gratitude for his treatment led one patient to support improving the care of others
by Cathy Alton
Tom McCaffrey, now 65, had suffered from back pain for most of his adult life when he had his first visit with Frank J. Eismont, M.D., chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics, more than 20 years ago. He knew he had chosen the right doctor when he immediately felt confident and at ease. He felt the same way when he met Dr. Eismont’s colleague, Robert Irwin, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Today, McCaffrey’s feelings are unchanged. For more than two decades, Drs. Eismont and Irwin have worked closely together to minimize his pain and maximize his mobility. He underwent several lower back surgeries, and today he is free of pain.
McCaffrey’s gratitude for the personalized care he has received, as well as his appreciation for the Miller School’s hardworking medical students and residents, led him to make generous gifts in support of UM’s life-changing work.
“When I was in the hospital, I experienced residents working to find the best options for me, and medical students learning from the experience,” McCaffrey said. “I know that all comes at a cost, so I wanted to do something to help.”
The impact of McCaffrey’s philanthropy has been farreaching.
“His support enables us to deepen our understanding of spinal disorders and speed the development of innovative new treatments,” Dr. Eismont said. “Tom’s support helps us acquire the latest technology, improve medical education and so much more.”
Dr. Irwin concurs, saying McCaffrey’s generosity has strengthened UM’s rehabilitation program.
“The result of that is men, women and children recovering from surgery faster,” Dr. Irwin said. “He should feel very proud of his support.”