BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - National Heart Month is February, and it means a great deal to Dr. James Kirklin. Most of his professional life, he has worked on the heart as a cardiac surgeon at UAB Hospital for 35 years. Over that span of time, Kirklin performed more than 700 heart transplant operations.
“It has been an incredible journey, one that I truly feel blessed,” said Kirklin. “I have been challenged in the operating room, where every decision, a patient’s life hung in the balance, and also at the same time, total reward for knowing that you helped a person extend a quality of life.”
Kirklin describes himself as an introvert, someone who is disciplined, he loves athletics, but more importantly he loves his family. He retired from clinical cardiac surgery two years ago at the age of 70, and is now professor of surgery at UAB, meaning he does a lot of research on patients’ post procedure care.
Kirklin has held a heart in his hands before, and we thought it would be interesting to hear his story, one that is truly a story of a doctor with a heart of gold.