Enhancing patient care through the Professor Geoffrey Driscoll Scholarship for Haematology and Related Nursing
Written by Mrs. Jan Driscoll.
Professor Geoffrey Driscoll OAM, born 13 March 1947, died at St Vincent’s Hospital on 5 October 2016.
Having been immobilised by polio for three years as a young boy, he was no stranger to illness, but fortunately on that occasion, he made a “miraculous” recovery. This exposure to hospitals and doctors led him to make the decision, very early in life, to become a doctor.
With great dedication and years of study, he became an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, a Micro-Surgeon, an Infertility Specialist and was made a Life Member of the Fertility Society of Australia in recognition of his pioneering role in the fertility field. Although he retired in 2005, after 33 years of clinical practice, he was Conjoint Professor of Reproductive Medicine at UNSW when he died, having written and introduced the first online Masters Course in that discipline in the world. For his contribution to education and infertility technology, he was awarded an OAM in 2015.
Geoff was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, and following radiotherapy and chemotherapy, was in and out of remission for his remaining years.
Sadly, in May 2016, he developed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Following months of gruelling chemotherapy and an unsuccessful stem cell transplant, Geoff succumbed to the disease in October 2016.
During the last five months of his life, as a close-knit family, we spent our days together on St Vincent’s level 9, or at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, supporting him with all the love and compassion he so richly deserved.
There was however, in the Haematology ward at St Vincent’s, a degree of support from the nursing staff that was quite unexpectedly remarkable. Not only as a patient but as a doctor, Geoff knew that his chance of recovery was slim. He depended on the expertise of the medical practitioners who treated him, but it was the professional and consistently high level of nursing care that made his day-to-day existence, under such trying circumstances, tolerable.
As his family, we wanted to mark our very special man’s life by establishing a scholarship. The Professor Geoffrey Driscoll Scholarship for Haematology and Related Nursing is not only our way of saying “Thank you” to all those specialist, caring nurses but to also encourage more to take up the study of haematology and related blood disorders, so they too can continue to make an indelible impact on other patients’ medical journeys.
The first Professor Geoffrey Driscoll Scholarship for Haematology and Related Nursing was awarded to Louise Christopherson for Australian College of Nursing courses including Haematology Nursing and Chemotherapy and other Systemic Treatments in Cancer care.