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Character Profiles > Jessica Girdwood Glenda Linscott

Jessica Girdwood 2011, 2012, 2014
Occupation: Surgeon

A senior surgeon at Erinsborough Hospital, Jessica Girdwood was part of the interviewing team for the surgical programme, which junior doctor Rhys Lawson was desperate to be a part of. Unfortunately, Rhys missed a call to say that his interview day and time had changed, and, having been drinking the night before, failed to make a good impression with his appearance or inability to answer questions. Though Rhys failed to get onto the programme, he impressed Jessica when he performed emergency surgery on Chris Pappas using garage tools, saving his life and, when Erin Salisbury dropped out of the programme - with events manipulated by Rhys - Jessica agreed to give Rhys a chance to take her place by making him sit an exam. Despite some advice from colleague Dr Karl Kennedy that Rhys was still too immature for the surgical programme, Jessica decided to give him the chance anyway.

Following this, Karl and Jessica's friendship grew, despite the best efforts of Rhys to stop them from getting close, fearing that a relationship between them might jeopardise his place on the surgical programme. As they trained together for the hospital's fun run, it became clear to other people that Jessica fancied Karl, though he failed to see it until she finally asked him out for a drink. Hesitant at first, it wasn't until Karl saw Susan applying for rental properties that he realised that he should move on too, and asked Jessica out to dinner. After a pleasant evening at a Kenyan restaurant in the city, Karl asked Jessica to his place for dinner the next evening and she was delighted to accept. The evening was going well, until Susan turned up, looking for a vegetable steamer as she didn't have one at her new place. Realising that she was interrupting, she quickly left and the date continued, only for Summer Hoyland, who lived with the Kennedys, to walk in as Karl and Jessica were finishing the evening with a kiss.

A couple of weeks later, Karl told Jessica that his old friend and bandmate Jimmy Edwards had died, following problems with his heart. Jessica offered to go to the funeral with him, but Karl insisted that he would be alright, though he was happy for Susan to accompany him, as she had also been friends with Jimmy and his wife, Valerie. Later that night, after the funeral service, Karl and Jessica had dinner together and he struggled as she showed only a passing interest in his band stories. He decided to go home early, and called on Susan to share a bottle of wine and some tales about the old days. The next day, Susan accidentally mentioned to Jessica that she'd seen Karl - both at the funeral and later at his house - and Jessica was upset. She told Karl that she wasn't prepared to be the third wheel in the relationship if he wasn't ready to move on from his ex-wife. Karl explained that he didn't want to stop seeing Susan as a friend, and Jessica was unable to deal with that, so they ended things. When the fun run took place the following week, Karl was advised by Rhys to let Jessica beat him, as it might help them both to move on from the tension at work. Karl thought it was a ridiculous idea, but when he suddenly suffered cramp close to the finish line, and Jessica went past him, everyone believed that he'd done it on purpose. Later, Karl tried to speak to Jessica, and asked her how long she was going to continue to ignore him at work. She told him that he was being silly, and that she had been distracted because her aunt had been taken ill, so she'd be going away for a while to look after her.

Later in 2012, Rhys had suffered an injury to his hand after coming across a car accident and helping the victims. The injury had thrown his future as a surgeon into doubt and, having taken some tests, he had changed the results to make it look like things were improving, allowing him to start assisting on operations again. But Rhys's girlfriend Vanessa was suspicious and he admitted what he'd done, but promised her that he wouldn't do anything that put anyone at risk. However, when Vanessa found out that Rhys would be assisting Jessica in a complex operation, she was forced to tell the senior surgeon that she had her doubts about Rhys' recovery. Jessica pulled Rhys out of the operation and, the next morning, performed the tests again, later telling Rhys that the results weren't good and it was unlikely he'd ever be able to operate again.

A couple of years later, Jessica performed an operation to remove potentially pre-cancerous nodules from the throat of nurse Georgia Brooks. Though the operation seemed to have been successful, Georgia's stitches burst a few hours later and she had to have another procedure. After recovering at home, Georgia became concerned as her singing voice wasn't quite what it used to be, and tests showed that she had permanent scarring on her throat and would never sing again. Georgia was left devastated, particularly as she had been planning to sing at her wedding the following month, and she became determined to prove that Jessica had been negligent. The suspicious behaviour of theatre nurse Sandra, coupled with the close friendship between Karl and Jessica, made Georgia think that there was a cover-up, and she angrily confronted Jessica as she enjoyed a night out with Karl after a hospital function. However, further enquiries showed that Jessica had done nothing wrong, and that Georgia had just been very unlucky - however, it also came to light that Sandra and the other nurses were treated very badly during the operation, and Jessica was forced to go on a course to improve her communication skills.

Biography by Steve