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Sir Peter J Morris pays tribute to Linda Hands, Associate Professor of Surgery at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, who has retired after 34 years of loyal service to Oxford University.

Linda Hands has been a stalwart of the department for the past 34 years. Certainly, everybody is going to miss her delightful personality and her very considerably skills as a vascular surgeon. She joined the NDS in 1983 as a British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Fellow, and working with Professor Sir George Radda she pioneered the use of 31P NMR spectroscopic changes associated with ischemia before and after vascular surgery and in part because of this very original work in 1984 she was awarded the Duncan-Flockhart Cardiovascular Travel Fellowship. 

Linda Hands and Jane Clark© Medical IllustrationIn 1988 she was appointed as a Senior Registrar in General Surgery in Oxford and then in 1990 was awarded a Vascular Fellowship at the University of Chicago. In 1992 she returned to the NDS as a Clinical Reader (later Associate Professor) in Surgery and a Fellow of Green College. Interestingly, at the same time, Jane Clark (pictured left, standing behind Linda), a Senior Registrar in Surgery and a previous Research Fellow and Registrar in the NDS, was appointed as a Consultant Surgeon. Linda and Jane were the first two women surgeons ever appointed to the consultant staff of the Oxford Clinical School and what stars they proved to be!

Linda continued her research work in the application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy in peripheral vascular disease and in a large collaborative study with St Mary’s Hospital examining the effects of Carnitine in patients with claudication.  

She also oversaw the introduction of a new duplex colour scanner into the Vascular Laboratory, particularly with relevance to examination of the carotid artery. During the same time the Vascular Laboratory, under Jackie Walton, had expanded enormously and Linda played a large part in overseeing that work. Linda had a large vascular surgical workload and, of course, was acting as a full-time vascular surgeon both for elective and emergency work, remembering that the NDS vascular unit had a 7/24 responsibility for emergency vascular surgery for much of the region. Despite all these commitments in 1995 Linda married Russell Jones, a General Practitioner, and the vascular unit at the time (Linda Hands, Derek Gray, Jack Collin, Justin Roake and Peter Morris) all celebrated in style. Linda has been always an enormous support to the NDS and to me personally when I was the Nuffield Professor, and later was the Acting Head of Department between the departure of Jonathan Meakins and the appointment of Freddie Hamdy.

Everyone will miss Linda Hands, particularly her patients, but her cheerful persona endeared her to all both in the hospital and the NDS. We all wish her a very happy retirement and thank her for all her contributions to the NDS and to vascular surgery over many years.

Sir Peter J Morris AC, FRS, FRCS