Dr Martin Mansell arrow_drop_down

MRCS LRCP (1971) MB BS (1971) MRCP (1974) MD (1982) FRCP (1989)

b. 28 September 1948; d. 24 April 2020

Martin Andrew Mansell, who has died aged 71, was an esteemed consultant nephrologist and one of the premier expert witnesses in the field of nephrology, who did much to develop and contribute to the field of medico-legal opinion in the UK.

Martin was born in 1948 in London, the youngest son of Rena and Joe Mansell, second generation immigrants from Russia and Romania respectively. He obtained a scholarship to Haberdasher’s Aske school, leaving a year early to attend Guy’s Medical School from which he graduated in 1971. He trained in clinical nephrology at St Thomas’s Hospital, where he also completed his MD, and was subsequently Lecturer in Nephrology at St Peter’s Hospitals and the Institute of Urology, London. In 1983 he was appointed to the post of Consultant Nephrologist at the St Peter’s Hospitals, London and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Nephrology at the Institute of Urology and Nephrology. With the transfer of the St. Peter’s Hospitals from Covent Garden to the UCLH Trust in 1992 he became Consultant Nephrologist at the Middlesex Hospital, and was Clinical Director of Renal and Urology Services from 1990 – 1994. In 2005, the Nephrology Department at the Middlesex Hospital merged with and moved to the Royal Free Hospital where he worked until he retired from NHS practice in 2010.

Martin was a general nephrologist with broad expertise in the management of acute and chronic renal failure, dialysis and transplantation. He developed a subspecialist interest in renal stone disease and he became a noted authority on diagnosis and management of oxalate stones and oxalosis. He published and lectured in this area which led to a national and international referral practice for this condition. Martin was an enthusiastic teacher of colleagues, junior doctors and undergraduates and his lucid explanations of complex renal biochemistry provided for effective teaching. He published widely throughout his career including research articles, reviews, presentations to learned societies and book chapters.

As a consultant, Martin contributed widely to numerous committees, both in his hospitals and also for Bloomsbury District Health Authority and North East Thames Region. These included those focused on developing clinical strategy for Renal Services, research, pharmacy, infection control and ethics.

Martin was highly regarded by his patients as well as his colleagues, and he developed a successful private practice, including contributing to the establishment of the successful transplant unit at the Cromwell Hospital. He was very supportive of his colleagues, being particularly helpful in a complex clinical situation, and always provided a thoughtful view and excellent second opinion. He encouraged and supported his trainees, many of whom went on to consultant posts in the UK and internationally. Martin was renowned for his quick wit, with a dry sense of humour and a seemingly endless supply of jokes suitable for 8-year olds.

Although he fell into it largely by chance, Martin developed a second highly successful career as a medico-legal expert, culminating in his 10-year tenure as Deputy Editor on the Medio-Legal Journal, appointment as President of the Medicolegal Society from 2012-2014, and an LLM in Medical Law and Ethics from the University of Kent in 2017. He was awarded the Cardiff University Expert Witness Accreditation in 2005, with subsequent recognition as a medical expert by the National Policing Improvement Authority, GMC Fitness to Practice panel, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Action against Medical Accidents Charity, as well as providing advice for independent NHS review panels, Courts and the Foreign Office pro bono medical panel. His developing expertise benefitted the Clinical Claims Review Group of the UCLH Trust which aimed to settle meritorious claims as expeditiously as possible. His move into medico-legal work undoubtedly strengthened governance and safe practice within the Nephrology Departments at the Middlesex and Royal Free Hospitals. At the time of his death, he had decided to turn his medical expertise towards mediation, and had just completed the mediation course offered by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution.

After meeting on a shift in Accident and Emergency at St Thomas’ Hospital, Martin married Cathy in 1979. They have one son, Nicholas, and six daughters, Alexandra, Hannah, Victoria, Sophie, Josephine and Hattie, as well as four grandchildren; Alexandra and Josephine have followed Martin into Medicine. Martin was also devoted (although he might not have admitted to it) to the English and Irish setters they have had over the years.

Following his retirement from the NHS in 2010, Martin and Cathy moved to Beltinge on the North Kent coast, where they had always spent their family holidays. Martin continued to be very busy with medico-legal work but found time to indulge his passions as a polymath, studying for Masters’ degrees in the History of Art, Military History and Philosophy, as well as the LLM in Medical Law and Ethics. Martin had enrolled in the University of Buckingham MA in Philosophy 2018/19, taking particular interest in the legal and moral issues in the ethics of organ donation. Martin and Cathy enjoyed regular trips to Scotland, where they flew birds of prey, and Martin often joined the RSM (Urology Section) ski trips where he was an enthusiastic contributor both to the scientific meeting and to the social life, often supported by some of his children. He had recently taken up cycling along the wind-swept sea-front and loved a good dinner with a drink or two beforehand, especially if he had family or friends to join him. He would no doubt have approved of the glass of Bollinger that his family raised to him at the private funeral which was held due to circumstance; it is hoped a celebration of his life will follow next year.

Robin Woolfson