Francis Patrick Marsh arrow_drop_down

Born: 15 April 1936 Died: 16 January 2011
MB BChir Cantab(1960) MRCP(1963) FRCP(1976)

Francis Patrick Marsh was a consultant nephrologist at the London Hospital. Born in Birmingham, the family moved to Leeds when he was a child. He was the son of Horatio Septimus Marsh, an office manager, and his wife, Violet. Educated at Leeds Grammar School, he studied medicine at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College. Qualifying in 1960, he did house jobs at the London before moving to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for a year in mid-1961. From there he moved to the Royal Free Hospital before returning to the London in August 1965.

Appointed a lecturer on the medical unit in 1967, he was made a senior lecturer at the age of 34 in 1970 under Clifford Wilson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.X, p.524] the distinguished expert on renal problems. The following year he was also appointed a consultant nephrologist, remaining in post until his retirement in 2001. One of his outstanding contributions during his time there was to initiate a small dialysis programme – the Hanbury dialysis unit – which was eventually to become one of the major renal centres in the UK. With Frank Goodwin [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.190] he managed to overcome the prejudice that many of the profession had against dialysis as a method of treatment for kidney failure.

An enthusiastic teacher, he was dean of medical studies at the London from 1990 to 1995, and held various other academic appointments there and in the University of London. Many of his postgraduate trainees also became distinguished nephrologists and most remained his lifelong friends. Closely involved with the American University of the Caribbean, he served on its board for many years and was its chairman from 2007 until 2010 when he was forced to resign due to ill health.

A prolific author, he contributed numerous scientific papers on topics such as antibiotics, urinary infections, hypertension and dialysis. He also contributed two chapters, ‘The frequency-dysuria syndrome’ and ‘Natural and therapeutic defence against urinary infection’ to John Blandy’s seminal text book Urology (Oxford, Blackwell Scientific, 1976) and sections on ‘Renal disease in systemic disorders’, ‘Toxic neuropathies’ and ‘Effects of drugs on the kidneys’ to Price’s Textbook of the practice of medicine 12th ed. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1978).

Lead violinist with the National Youth Orchestra for a time in his teens, in retirement he greatly enjoyed rediscovering the instrument. He also loved the outdoors and skied, sailed and walked the Sussex countryside.

In 1963 he married Pamela Anne Campbell née Bradbury (‘Pam’), whose father, Richard Campbell Bradbury was a company director. They had two daughters and a son. When he died, Pam and their children survived him.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2012 344 1052 – accessed 6 August 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

Frank Marsh  1936-2011

Frank Marsh, who was a substantial figure in British nephrology until his retirement in June 2001, died in the Royal Marsden Hospital on 16 January 2011.  Frank’s medical training took place at Caius College, Cambridge and the London Hospital where he subsequently remained for the bulk of his professional career.  It was there that, in collaboration with the late Frank Goodwin, he created from scratch the small dialysis programme that under his stewardship was to become one of the major renal centres in the country.  Alongside his many other responsibilities, Frank Marsh always remained a dedicated frontline clinician whose patients consistently benefited from generous doses of skill and compassion.

Frank was also a committed and highly effective medical educator, both at the micro level in his own department and also the macro level where he held important positions in the London Hospital Medical College and overseas on the Faculty of the American University of the Caribbean and latterly as chairman of its board.  Here he was an excellent example of someone who led from the front – Frank actually taught medicine rather than just pontificating about teaching it. He greatly enjoyed his personal contacts with students and postgraduates and even when he was a very senior member of the establishment he insisted on continuing with his own tutorial groups. In these activities Frank’s high intelligence, basic common sense and attention to detail worked to the advantage of the many people whose clinical care or medical education became his responsibility.  These commitments were formidable, yet he still found time to be a productive academic – he wrote books and published papers throughout his career. Away from medicine, Frank Marsh was a notably good violinist who played in the National Youth Orchestra in his teens and was delighted to be able to take it up again in his retirement. Sailing, skiing and walking provided his outdoor recreation.

He enjoyed a happy and productive retirement with his wife, Pamela, in rural Sussex.  Frank Marsh was the most dedicated of doctors and a devoted family man who will be missed greatly by all who knew him. He is survived by Pamela and his three children.

John Cunningham