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Hugh Dudley

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 07 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5660
  1. Peter Davies
  1. petergdavies{at}

Globally renowned surgeon who volunteered in Vietnam

Hugh Dudley, who has died aged 85, was a professor of surgery with an outstanding intellect. As a teacher, thinker, and prolific writer, he influenced those who trained under him in Scotland, Australia, and London. After an early career in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, he helped to establish Monash University medical school in Melbourne during the 1960s, taking short breaks to serve as a volunteer surgeon in the Vietnam war. At St Mary’s Hospital, London, in the 1970s and 1980s he pioneered ideas now much in vogue. Charismatic and brilliant, he had a fearsome reputation among his juniors as an uncompromising taskmaster. Unafraid of making enemies, he listed “offending others” among his recreations in Who’s Who.

“Not having met Stephen Hawking, I always felt confident in describing Hugh Dudley as the cleverest man I ever met,” said Buff Hardie, secretary to northeast regional hospital board in the early 1960s, when Dudley was involved in planning the new Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. “He was a Leonardo figure who …

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