Jackson Kirkman-Brown wins Healthcare Scientist of the Year 2014
Dr Jackson Kirkman-Brown MBE, of Birmingham Womens Hospital and the University of Birmingham, won Healthcare Scientist of the Year at the 2014 Healthcare Science Awards, part of the #LTO14 conference.
Jackson was presented with his award by Celia Ingham-Clark National Director for Reducing Premature Deaths at NHS England and Professor Sue Hill OBE, the Chief Scientific Officer.
Jackson's citation read:
Dr Jackson Kirkman-Brown's clinical work involves working with the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Birmingham, The Queen Elizabeth is the receiving hospital for military casualties, many of whom are serving in Afghanistan.
Jackson’s area of specialist interest is infertility and preserving the fertility of men injured as a result of military conflict, he has developed a unique service to assist these injured men.
Jackson and his team recognised that following a blast injury, men with genital injuries required a rapid effective method to retrieve and preserve sperm for future use. Men with genital injuries were diagnosed as facing a future of infertility with an inability to conceive their own genetic child as a result of the injuries received. Jackson and his team developed an innovative method to retreive viable sperm from these men.
Jackson and his team work tirelessly to ensure these men are given every possible opportunity to have their own genetic child following recovery from injury. Jackson has dedicated an enormous amount of his personal time and effort into making this innovative approach a reality he and his team are on call 24 hours a day to ensure the service is available when required.
This service gives hope to those who otherwise might face a life without children.
Jacksons work was recognised nationally when he was appointed MBE in the Queens New Years Honours list in 2013. This was followed closely by the birth of the first child to be conceived as a result of the teams pioneering work in spring 2013
The significance of Jackson's work to the patients he treats was backed up with this personal citation from the first family to successful have a child following his work with defence casualties. The family have asked to have their privacy respected, but wanted to share their gratitude for the care they had received.
When you get the call to tell you that your soldier has been injured – your world falls apart. Not immediately, not for me at least, for me my instinct was to survive, to be the rock that my husband needed and to bring the smiles each day for the very long weeks we spent in Birmingham.
For my husband it was about survival – the doctors and surgeons fought hard in those early days and hours to preserve his life, and as much of his remaining body as they could. After two weeks in an induced coma, we finally dared hope that he would survive, and more than this, that he would find his way back to who he was in mind and spirit.
They told us we were lucky, my husband was lucky, because, sadly, by this point they had had lots of practice with his kinds of wounds, and they were able to save him, when months before possibly they wouldn’t have. We were also lucky because some time earlier two wonderful men had happened to be sitting in a pub chatting and asking the questions ‘what about our soldier’s future?’ ‘What about family?’ Many, if not most of the guys injured in IED blasts, sustain some injury to their groin, what could be done to ensure that these young men could not only survive these terrible injuries, but go on to raise their own families?
These two men were Major John Clarke and Dr. Jackson Kirkman-Brown. They worked tirelessly to overcome a multitude of hurdles related to the practicality, feasibility and medical viability of the process as well as legal issues related to obtaining consent and performing procedures on a patient that may never wake up.
But they persevered because they were convinced of the importance of their work. Of how vitally important it would be for these young men to still have the option of fatherhood not only to enjoy the wonders that this could bring, but also to preserve for the injured soldier his sense of manhood in the fullest sense.
I met Jackson while my husband was still on the ITU, just days after he had woken from his coma. He explained to us the procedure he had done and obtained the necessary consents. We didn’t see him again until nearly a year later, when we felt ready to embark on our own journey of starting our family.
We knew we were the very first. We knew there were lots of unknowns, and we knew that it possibly wouldn’t work, but Jackson and his team were warm, and thoughtful, and always very clear and honest and we trusted them completely.
It took two attempts of ICSI treatment to get pregnant. I will admit it was a tough process, not least because of the hormones and injections and disappointment of an attempt failed, but also because inevitably it dragged up lots of emotions and anger as to why we were in this position at all.
We were overjoyed to find out we were pregnant. We just couldn’t believe it.
We are so grateful to John and Jackson for their vision, their perseverance and for gathering such wonderful people to help them realise such an incredible thing. Without them, we would not have our child, or the hope of anymore. Our family would not be complete and my husband would not have recovered emotionally anywhere near as well as he has.
We have named our first child in part after these two men as one day we will tell our children their story, of how they began and of the incredible people who made their lives possible.
We are forever indebted to the hard work of Jackson and his team.
Nick Dudley, of Lincoln County Hospital, was Runner-up for Healthcare Scientist of the Year