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RD&E renames hospital ward after world renowned surgeon


The achievements of world renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon Professor Robin Ling OBE, co-developer of the innovative Exeter Hip, has been celebrated with the renaming of a ward at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

RD&E elective and rehabilitation orthopaedic ward Tavy was officially renamed Robin Ling Ward on 22nd February 2018 in memory of the late Professor Ling who sadly passed away last year.

Professor Ling joined the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital (PEOH) as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in 1963 where he became interested in hip replacement surgery. He approached Dr Clive Lee, an engineer at the University of Exeter, to design a hip stem with a profoundly different geometry to those available at that time. It was the start of nearly 50 years of collaboration which would go on to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world.

The Exeter Hip, a stainless steel hip replacement joint, was developed by Professor Ling and Dr Lee at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in the late 1960’s. The innovative design of the stem implant went on to transform hip replacement surgery due to it long lasting results for patients of all ages and is widely considered the ‘industry gold standard’ for hip replacements. 

The first Exeter Hip was inserted in 1970. It is now the most frequently used cemented hip replacement joint in the world, with more than one million operations undertaken by the end of 2010. Over 100,000 hip stems are now used each year.

Following Professor Ling’s passing on 9th October 2017, it was decided that a ward in the RD&E’s Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (formerly PEOH) be renamed to mark Professor Ling’s significant contribution to the Trust.

Professor John Timperley, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “Professor Ling's contribution to orthopaedic surgery was not only the highly successful Exeter Hip but also development and teaching of excellence in surgical technique. Thousands of surgeons around the world have been influenced by his work and the Hip Team in Exeter continue to research and build on his legacy. Robin was an inspiration to his colleagues and to the many patients who have benefited from his care; therefore we felt it was important to mark his exceptional contribution in this way.”   

The renaming ceremony was attended by members for the current RD&E Hip Team, the Trust Board and members of Prof. Ling’s family. The new ward sign was officially unveiled by Exeter Hip co-developer and University of Exeter engineer Dr Clive Lee. 

Dr Lee said: “Robin Ling was acknowledged to be one of the most skilled orthopaedic surgeons in the world. Those who worked with him count themselves fortunate; he was an exceptional man who has left an exceptional legacy to Exeter and the world. The Exeter Hip demonstrates a very successful collaboration between surgeons at the Orthopaedic Hospital and engineers at the University of Exeter, and I am proud to be part of unveiling this fitting tribute to his pioneering work.” 

A memorial service at Exeter Cathedral will also be held at 11am on Friday 23rd February , with surgeons who trained under him flying in from around the world to attend this celebration of his life. The service is open to anyone to attend.


Added 22 February 2018

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