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Margaret and Paul Brand - TLM Heroes

An older, white-British couple pose for a professional portrait

Drs Paul and Margaret Brand (1914-2003 and 1919-2014 respectively) met at medical school in London and later lived, worked and taught in India. Their combined research significantly advanced the understanding and treatment of leprosy. Their students were inspired by their expertise and the affection Paul and Margaret showed their patients when the stigma accompanying the disease was particularly high.

An orthopaedic surgeon, Paul was the pioneer of muscle tendon-transplant operations in leprosy patients – still used by our surgeons today. His extensive research also proved that numb fingers and toes were vulnerable to injury, trauma and infection, which could be largely prevented by specialist shoes, tools, and increasing people’s understanding of the risk.

Margaret, an ophthalmologist, developed techniques related to eye surgery. When she died in 2014, she was fondly remembered as, “probably the best ocular leprologist in the world” by her colleague Ebenezer Daniel, who also said Margaret, “loved her patients and her patients loved her back”.

In 1992, Paul became the president of The Leprosy Mission and wrote widely on the subject. At the centre of the couple’s shared legacy are the six children they raised together and the countless people whose lives have been changed by function being restored to hands, feet and eyes.