David C. Mulligan, MD, is Yale Medicine’s chief of transplant surgery and immunology, and director of the Yale New Haven Transplantation Center. He is an internationally-acclaimed leader in organ procurement, distribution and transplantation—with a focus on living-donor liver transplants. He also performs pancreas and kidney transplants, as well as surgery for liver and pancreatic disorders and tumors.
Dr. Mulligan, who established the solid organ transplant program at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona before joining Yale Medicine, chose his field partly because of the amazing recoveries patients often make after an organ transplant. “There is just nothing more rewarding than to see a patient who was moments from death walk out the door days after surgery with an entirely new outlook on life—and the ability to live a healthy normal life,” he says.
Organ transplant has evolved rapidly in the last 30 years, and the Yale New Haven Transplantation Center is a leader in performing both kidney and liver transplantations. But getting organs for all the people who need them has become more difficult, with some patients waiting several years.
Dr. Mulligan believes living-donor transplants are a solution to the organ shortage. He has helped drive a pioneering initiative by Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital that is creating supportive communities of living donors and providing them with free, lifelong local medical monitoring for any health issues that may arise related to their organ donation.
“If transplant surgeons don’t have these organs, it’s like having one hand tied behind our back, and we are unable to help our patients,” Dr. Mulligan says. “I think we can do better.”
Dr. Mulligan is also a professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine and president of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS)/Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN).