Hugh Dudley remembered
24 May 2012
On 25 April, 75 people came together at St Mary’s Campus to commemorate the professional life of Professor H.A.F. Dudley, who chaired the Academic Surgical Unit from 1973–88. Professor Dudley died on 28 June 2011. Members of Professor Dudley’s family attended, along with past colleagues and trainees, some of whom had travelled from as far as the USA, the West Indies and Australia to attend. Professor Peter Fielding, former trainee and Assistant Director of the Academic Surgical Unit from 1972–1981, reports on the event:
“The eight celebratory talks painted a consistent picture of a man with extraordinary breadth and depth in his original writings. Hugh produced 260 peer-reviewed papers on more than 25 subjects, with citations exceeding 2,600. He was a prolific writer and editor of many of the major texts of the day devoted to surgical science, clinical methods and operative techniques.
Hugh’s ability to take complex ideas, identify the core issues and then explain and argue for a point of view, made him a frequent guest on radio discussion programmes. His intellectual curiosity and ability to synthesise ideas made him a controversial person, particularly when he was confronted by academic mediocrity masquerading as erudition, for which he had little tolerance. By contrast, the hours of support for the early papers of his trainees engendered a strong sense of loyalty, which was so evident from those present to celebrate Hugh’s life and work.
Hugh was a hard taskmaster, but to those who raised their game to their potential, he was kind and supportive. It was his patients and nursing staff (some of whom attended this event) who saw more of the empathic man willing to listen, nurture and advise. Many of the audience were less aware of Hugh’s strong affinity and respect for the military and his systems approach to healthcare provision, which remains particularly relevant to this day.”