In Memoriam Bryant Jennett – Glasgow Coma Scale Author


Posted on 9th April 2008 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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In general, brain injury research and work is a pretty anonymous field. I can rattle off a bunch of names of researchers, but even most defense experts have never heard of many of these people. One of the names that almost everyone in the brain injury field has heard is Bryan Jennett. If they haven’t heard of him, they have heard of his most famous work: the Glasgow Coma Scale, commonly referred to as the GCS. The GCS score is the most single common denominator in all of head injury diagnosis, and any cursory review of a brain injury medical record will have a GCS score on it.

Bryan Jennett, CBE, M.D., the brain injury expert of Glasgow, Scotland, died on 16 February 2008. For a nice treatment on Dr. Jennett click here. The North East Center also includes a nice comment on his work on such link by Nathan Zasler, M.D. that is worth reading – Reflections on the Life and Work of William Bryan Jennett, CBE, M.D., FRCS. Dr. Zasler had this to say about Dr. Jennett:

“During his career, Dr. Jennett not only distinguished himself as a clinician and scholar but lectured and wrote extensively on issues relating to brain injury.

“He remained one of the driving forces behind some of the more recent international work in the area of disorders of consciousness over the last 15 years. What was most amazing was Dr. Jennett’s ability to look back on his own work and be constructively critical of it, including acknowledging some of the limitations of his own thinking. He continued to provide encouragement to other clinicians to pursue further honing of our collective understanding of the complexities of both assessment and management of this special population of persons with acquired brain injury.”

Only if this generation of doctors, scholars and researchers can share Dr. Jennett’s passion and vision for the future of brain injury research, will the advocacy that propelled Dr. Jennett’s career, be fulfilled. I hope his death reminds the medical community of that what we don’t know about brain injury is infinitely greater than what we know. Research on…

Next: the GCS score. What it tells us and what it does not.