Martin Mansell, MD, MRCP
April 24, 2020
Martin Mansell, Consultant Nephrologist and friend of many urologists, died on 24th April from COVID‐19 following three weeks in an intensive treatment unit. Martin was born in 1948, the son of Rena and Joe Mansell, second generation immigrants from Russia and Romania. He obtained a scholarship to Haberdasher's Aske School, qualified at Guy's Hospital in 1971 and became MRCP in 1974 and FRCP in 1989. Martin was awarded an MD from the University of London in August 1982 for work on NAG and hypertension, and subsequently published over 150 papers. He was appointed Consultant Nephrologist and Senior Lecturer at the St Peter's Hospitals in 1983 and moved to the Middlesex in 1992, and to the Royal Free in 2005. Martin's specialist interest was in renal stone disease and he was a noted authority on oxalate stones and oxalosis. This led him to develop a practice in the management of difficult urological surgical complications. Consequently, Martin was always the reliable friend and sounding board of the urologist in need.
Along with his joie de vivre, Martin will be well remembered for his generosity as a host (as well as his terrible jokes)
Martin was highly regarded by his patients as well as colleagues, and he developed a large and successful private practice. With surgical colleagues he built the extraordinarily successful transplant unit at the Cromwell Hospital. His opinion was sought worldwide, and he made many overseas trips to give opinions on sovereigns; indeed, the rich and famous became one of his specialities. In 1988, he joined the relief efforts of the Armenian earthquake, treating survivors suffering from crush syndrome. He was discovered in a bar by a British 'civil servant', who took him to the British Embassy in Moscow to be debriefed by the ambassador, making Martin one of the least likely spies in the history of espionage.
Martin fell into medico‐legal work by chance, but quickly became renowned as the premier UK expert in Nephrology. Martin's great skill was that he not only provided a carefully considered, objective and unbiased opinion, but that he passed on his extensive technical knowledge in a way that could be readily understood by clients and lawyers. Above all, although scrupulously impartial, he showed great compassion for those bringing or defending claims. He was President of the Medicolegal Society from 2012–2014 and received an LLM in Medical Law and Ethics from the University of Kent in 2017. He appeared in the witness stand in several criminal trials, including a famous case of alleged murder by antifreeze, and took a great interest in the issues of medical manslaughter and the ethics of organ donation.
Ever a polymath, Martin used his retirement to complete degrees in the History of Art, Military History and Philosophy. He enjoyed skiing and walking in the mountains at the winter meetings of the Urology section of the Royal Society of Medicine, where his outrageous wit and knowledge added to every meeting, perhaps capped by appearing as the Judge in the 'moot' at the last meeting in January 2020.
Martin was also famous as a bon viveur and will be remembered for his generosity as a host, as much as for his dreadful jokes. The bar bills that he ‐ with the willing assistance of his children ‐ racked up on the RSM ski trips were legendary, although even he was once taken aback by the size of one of them when it turned out he was trying to pay the VAT number, rather than the amount due!
Martin met Cathy, to whom he was completely devoted, when she was a nurse and he a registrar at St Thomas' and they married in 1979. Of all his successes, Martin was undoubtedly proudest of his family. He is survived by Cathy; one son, Nicholas; six daughters, Alexandra, Hannah, Victoria, Sophie, Josephine and Hattie; four grandchildren; three dogs; and a tortoise.
Martin would no doubt have approved of the glass of Bollinger that his family raised to him at the funeral, which was held privately due to the circumstances. It is hoped that a celebration of his life will follow next year.
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