Professor Bryan Jennett

Professor Bryan Jennett, 1926–2008

Professor William Bryan Jennett died in January 2008.  He was an influential neurosurgeon who transformed the care of people with head injuries. His main interests were in the mechanisms of acute brain damage and the long-term consequences of head injury.  Bryan Jennett finished top of his class at Liverpool Medical School and went on to further training in Cardiff, lecturing in Manchester and two years as a Rockefeller Fellow at UCLA. He then returned to the UK and took up a post in Glasgow combining clinical work with research. He jointly led an MRC cerebral circulation research group, which brought about an international brain injury databank that is still in use today. In 1972 Professor Jennett coined the term ‘vegetative state’ and later created the legendary Glasgow Coma Scale and Glasgow Outcome Scale, which are used to describe the depth of a coma and assess the likely outcome of a head injury. Among Professor Jennett’s many honours, he served as president of both clinical neurosciences at the Royal Society of Medicine and of Headway, the national head injury patients’ group. He received a CBE in 1992 and, in 2007, was the first recipient of the Medal of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons.

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