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Biographical entry Riden, Donald Keith (1959 - 2005)

FRCS 1996; BDS London 1981; BM Southampton 1988; LDSRCS 1982; FDS RCS 1994; FRCS (OMFS) 1998.

5 May 1959
Liverpool, UK
19 February 2005
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon


Surgeon Commander Donald Keith Riden RN was born in Liverpool on 5 May 1959, the son of Alfred Donald and Mavis Irene Riden. He attended West Derby Comprehensive School in Liverpool from 1970 to 1977, and then went on to study dentistry at King’s College Dental School, winning the Wellcome award in pharmacology and therapeutics in 1980 and the annual oral surgery prize in 1981. With an increasing interest in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which had developed from his early days at dental school, he entered Southampton University Medical School in 1984, qualifying in 1988.

Serving in the Royal Navy, he undertook his house surgeon appointments in urology, orthopaedics, general surgery and accident and emergency at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar. He had short appointments in endocrinology at Southampton General Hospital and in general surgery at the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth. After an ENT job at RNH Haslar, he returned to RNH Plymouth to start his oral and maxillofacial training, becoming a registrar in October 1993 and gaining his FDS in 1994. Subsequently he entered the south west specialist registrar rotation in Plymouth, Frenchay, Southmead and Bristol Royal Infirmary from 1994 to 1999. As is customary with RN medical officers, he saw service overseas and at sea, serving in Gibraltar, on HMS Tamar (Hong Kong), HMS Ariadne, HMS Minerva, HMS Nelson and HMS Illustrious. He was on active service in Kosovo from 2000 to 2001. He loved to travel, particularly in the Far East and was able to serve in Hong Kong, China and India as a visiting registrar.

He was awarded consultant status by the Defence Medical Service Consultant Approval Board of the College in 2000. His first posting as consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon and postgraduate clinical tutor was to RNH Haslar. In 2003 he was appointed to the Joint Services Hospital, the Princess Mary Hospital, RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, where he remained until illness intervened.

He published papers on dental pain and, during his training rotation, wrote Key topics in oral and maxillofacial surgery (Oxford, Bios Scientific, 1998) and contributed to the UK national third molar audit in 1998.

In his later years he honed his skills as both a facial trauma and head and neck cancer specialist, developing techniques for facial reconstruction and neck dissections. He was a particularly good teacher of house officers and SHOs, and enormously enjoyed this role. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Royal Navy, especially on overseas deployments.

He had a lifelong interest in music and was a lover of classical music and opera. He was an accomplished classical guitar player. He regularly sang with a variety of groups, choral unions and barbershop, and was a member of Portsmouth Choral Union, Solent City Barbershop Club and Island Blend, a Cyprus barbershop group.

He married Leslie Carol, a teacher and college librarian, in August 1981. They had three sons, Daniel James, Andrew Mark and Nicholas John. He died on 19 February 2005 from carcinoma of the oesophagus.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England