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Thomas Lind

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2535
  1. John Davison

Thomas Lind (“Tom”) always considered himself lucky to have qualified just before gynaecology (with some obstetrics) ceased to be recognised as a preregistration house post. As a result of this, he was the first house officer to work for J K (“Jake”) Russell, newly appointed to the chair of obstetrics and gynaecology in 1958, the year in which Tom qualified. Although Jake was subsequently to have great influence on Tom’s development and progress within the specialty, there was a considerable gap after his house year because Tom undertook national service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, extending the customary two years’ service to more than five, serving mostly in Germany—including Berlin, at the height of the cold war—and attaining the rank of major.

In 1966 he was encouraged to return to Newcastle to complete his clinical training, just at the time that the academic department was being considerably strengthened by the move of the MRC obstetric medicine unit from Aberdeen, becoming the MRC reproduction and growth unit. Angus Thomson and Frank Hytten and Mr WZ Billewicz (“Bill”) were the nucleus of its staff, and they too were to have a considerable influence on Tom’s career. The MRC prefabricated building was at the rear of the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital (PMMH) on land that had miraculously been released by the local schools and charities committee, thanks to inspired lobbying by Jake, his colleagues, and the then dean, Andrew Lowdon. Without Jake’s insight, political skills, determination, careful homework, and getting all his clinical colleagues on board this might never have happened. This unit (later renamed the MRC human reproduction group within the academic department) became internationally renowned for work on the physiology of human pregnancy and the epidemiology of human reproduction. It had an excellent rapport with the clinical department, providing a …

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