The Hugh Dudley Lecture


Professor Hugh Dudley was brilliant and driven. He was a hard taskmaster who expected others to live up to his high standards in surgery, research and behaviour.


His breadth of original research and peer reviewed writings was wide ranging covering more than twenty-four topics from cancer, pancreatitis, the metabolic response to surgery or the hormonal changes during work and sleep to the testing of the null hypothesis (in a randomised trial, of course) of the olfactory differences between some brands of single malt whisky!!


During his years in Australia as Foundation Professor in Monash University he set the academic standards both at Monash and as President of the Australian Surgical Research Society whilst also volunteering for surgical field work in Vietnam where he served with heroism. His subsequent years at St Marys Hospital Medical School (1973-1988) were such that under his direction the school and hospital rose to eminence in academic circles. Hugh Dudley was prolific as an Editor of surgical texts from basic clinical methods (Hamilton Bailey) to the details of complex surgery (Robb and Smith Operative Surgery series) whilst being associate editor of the British Medical Journal. He revitalised the Surgical Research Society and transformed the British Journal of Surgery from under the yoke of a publishing company to enjoy its independence, not only editorially but also financially. He served as Chairman of the Independent Ethics Committee, Army Personnel Research Establishment, Farnborough and the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down.

Hugh Dudley embraced new technologies and was President of the Biological Engineering Society of Great Britain. He was a clinical “systems” thinker, analysing patient care and operative surgery from this bioengineering viewpoint which was a natural lead into surgical decision making and audit. Even today he appears to be a generation ahead with some of his precepts only now being recognised and widely implemented.

On a personal basis he could initially be a difficult man to know, but once through his rather brittle shield, he encouraged and nurtured those who sought his guidance. Many of his associates, juniors and research fellows, who have had the benefit of his intellectual stimulus and his willingness to train us in much more than clinical surgery, feel that his massive contribution needs some form of permanent recognition.

It is therefore our intention to create a fund to support in perpetuity the Professor Hugh Dudley Annual Memorial Lecture in Surgical Sciences.

Our wish is to provide a fulcrum around which his farsighted vision can be used to focus the current and future generations of surgeons on the scientific underpinnings of surgical care and diseases. We wish to support Hugh Dudley’s drive to forge a better future for individuals and for society. Surgery, in general, and Hugh Dudley in particular deserve no less. Peter Fielding and Geoffrey Glazer