Cork Profile - Dr David Mullane Consultant Paediatrician at CUH
When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?
Something in the science or engineering fields.
Tell us about your career progression to your role today:
After finishing medicine at UCC, I spent 10 further years training in paediatrics. Most of this was in Dublin children’s hospitals with a three year paediatric respiratory fellowship in Australia where I completed an MD degree. I have been a consultant in respiratory and general paediatrics at Cork University Hospital since 2009. More than half of my time is spent managing respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis and asthma. CUH is one of six paediatric cystic fibrosis centres in Ireland and patients from Kerry to Wexford attend the clinic here. I see children with all types of conditions during the rest of my time at work from a two day old with jaundice and poor feeding to a 16 year old with meningitis. I am often on call at night and weekends covering all paediatric patients at CUH and Mercy University Hospital.
I have been part of the paediatric project group at CUH for the last eight years during which time we have been trying to improve facilities for children from all over Munster who attend CUH. Last year over 30,000 children were seen here. A new children’s day unit and outpatient area opened two years ago. A new children’s hospital at CUH with 80 single rooms has been planned for many years. We were delighted to recently hear that the €40 million required for the build has been allocated in the HSE capital plan 2020-2023 and we expect construction to commence next year. We are lucky to have a wide range of paediatric specialties at CUH including neurology, diabetes/endocrinology, allergy, respiratory, cardiology and disability. Less than two per cent of children admitted here last year needed transfer to a Dublin children’s hospital.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?
We do see children with chronic conditions but many children admitted to hospital have acute problems from which they fully recover. Being able to support children and their families through their journey is both very rewarding and humbling.
What motivates you?
The children of Cork and beyond deserve the best of care in the best facilities. Many children don’t have a voice and I have always done my best to advocate for these patients. This was my motivation for previously serving as clinical director for women children’s services at CUH and CUMH, and for currently being on the board of the Faculty of Paediatrics of Ireland. Having worked in many different children’s hospitals at home and overseas, I know what we should be striving for and am delighted that capital funding has been allocated to allow the construction of the new children’s hospital at CUH to begin in 2020.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
Work hard but don’t take yourself too seriously.
If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?
I think I would probably be somewhere in healthcare, it’s such a broad field.
What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?
Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
My wife, my kids and my parents.
What is the life dream now?
Maintain a healthy work life balance in the new CUH children’s hospital.
How do you switch off?
I cycle to work. It’s one of the few parts of the day when I have some time to myself and it clears the mind before I get home.
What is your favourite Cork memory?
Going into the English Market as a child with my grandmother.
What is your favourite place in Cork?
I enjoy the Cork coastline, the scenery and variety is great.
Do you have a favourite quote or motto?
'If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.'
When are you at your happiest?
Having fun with my family.
I probably put work ahead of family for a period of my career, I endeavour not to repeat that.
What is your hidden talent?
I have a brown belt in judo.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I have been a director of the CUH charity for the last seven years. The goal of the charity is to change and save lives through supporting all departments across CUH and CUMH. Cork people have always been generous supporters of local charities and I hope will continue to do so.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
CUH Childrens Unit with CUH charity have organised a fundraising concert in City Hall on Saturday 16 November. Walking on Cars and two other artists will be performing. Funds are going towards an EEG machine to diagnose seizures in children (600 children with epilepsy attend CUH), an Echo machine to diagnose congenital heart disease and refurbishment of the Paediatric Emergency Department. Tickets are now on sale at cuh.clearbookings.com.