New Zealand’s highest honour for contributions to resuscitation and first aid was awarded to Dr Richard Aickin this week.
The Sir David Hay Medal is reserved for those who have made an outstanding or lifelong contribution to resuscitation and emergency care in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
The Sir David Hay Medal has only been awarded five times since 1999, which is a testament to the calibre of the award. Past recipients are Dr Peter Leslie, Dr Duncan Galletly, Dr Shirley Tonkin and Dr Andy Swain.
Dr Aickin who recently retired from his role as chair of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council after 12 years noted the significance he felt in receiving this award as it had been awarded so few times. Dr Aickin has been involved in the council since 1997.
With his vast knowledge and expertise Dr Aickin has held numerous chair positions nationally, with the Paediatric Networks but also across Australasia in his role as chair of the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR). During this time Dr Aickin has overseen significant changes in resuscitation and first aid treatment guidelines. This work has improved outcomes for countless numbers of Australians and New Zealanders in medical emergencies.
On a global stage, Dr Aickin has held multiple roles within the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR). His contribution to ILCOR in the various chair and co-chair roles has placed New Zealand on the world stage in dictating evidence-based resuscitation practice.
Dr Aickin was nominated by his peers for the Sir David Hay Medal. The nomination noted his measured, efficient and unflappable approach, both in his clinical roles and his various leadership positions including his time as the Clinical Director of Starship Hospital.
Dr Aickin in the 1990’s was appointed to establish and direct the Paediatric Emergency Care department at Starship. The formation of the Starship paediatric emergency care department is seen by many as the beginning of this discipline in New Zealand, and has changed and saved many children’s lives through its specialist work.
Dr Aickin’s influence on the medical fraternity of New Zealand is profound and long lasting, he is more than deserving of resuscitation’s highest honour.