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More than One Kind of Donor

A physician examines a patient with a stethoscope as three other physicians surround the patient’s bed.
A gift from a grateful patient will establish an endowed chair and support Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil and his team.

UCLA’s Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil and his team have performed more than 6,000 liver transplants — the most performed at any center in the country. In keeping with UCLA’s tradition of breaking barriers, Busuttil launched the UCLA liver and pancreas transplant program in 1984, when liver transplantation was still in its infancy. Since then, the program’s work — preventing, providing, and ensuring the success of transplant surgery — has led the way in the field.

A Gift of Gratitude

Busuttil’s work is awe-inspiring, but his patients feel as much affection as admiration for him. Among those grateful patients is Sidney Kimmel. Although not a transplant patient himself, Kimmel, through his foundation, recently gave generously to endow and name the Sidney Kimmel Endowed Chair in Transplantation Surgery.

“Dr. Busuttil accurately diagnosed my serious condition that others had not figured out,” says Kimmel. “He took quick action and saved my life. His transplant patients are lucky to have him, and I am thrilled to support the work of his team.” After Busuttil’s retirement from UCLA, the chair will be renamed to include Ronald W. Busuttil MD, PhD in the title.

Research with Reach

The funds will be held in the department of surgery, but Californians will be the greatest beneficiaries. Waiting lists at California liver transplant centers are significantly longer than in many other states. About 350 people are on the UCLA waiting list, which makes the money generated by the Kimmel Chair to support research and innovation particularly meaningful.

“The benefits of liver transplants are amazing. Patients just weeks from death can have their lives extended significantly, even indefinitely,” Busuttil says. “And that is the fundamental mission for which we will maximize these funds.”

The gift is another example of donors recognizing great work at UCLA by giving to make it greater.

Published March 2018

Three medical staff in surgical gear operate on a patient.

Liver transplants are in high demand in California, with about 350 people on the UCLA waiting list.

Dr. Busuttil and dozens of medical staff pose outdoors in a building courtyard.

Donor Sidney Kimmel praises Dr. Busuttil’s care and says, “His transplant patients are lucky to have him, and I am thrilled to support the work of his team.”

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