Leslie Le Quesne

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 12 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6543
  1. Peter Davies
  1. petergdavies{at}

Outcomes focused surgeon who worked on deep vein thromboses

Leslie Le Quesne, who has died aged 91, was a bold and innovative surgeon, renowned research scientist, and revered teacher. As professor of surgery at the Middlesex Hospital, London, he helped to revolutionise care for patients after operation. His work on deep vein thrombosis (DVT) had a big impact and led to elastic stockings being supplied to long haul air travellers. Under his direction, the British Journal of Surgery vastly expanded its readership and influence. And he was the first surgery professor to become deputy vice chancellor of London University.

Fitness for surgery

As a young surgeon in the 1950s Le Quesne was one of a new breed who cared about outcomes as much as technique and was dissatisfied when patients died after operations judged to have been successful. He investigated factors such as nutritional fitness for surgery and the body’s response after an operation. His groundbreaking 1954 monograph, Fluid Balance in Surgical Practice, was based on his own observations at the Middlesex. A slim volume …

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