Lives of the fellows

Martin John Wood

b.16 June 1945 d.15 December 2002
BA Oxon(1967) BM BCh(1970) MRCP(1973) FRCP(1987) FRCP Edin(1994)

Martin Wood went to Heartlands Hospital, then known as East Birmingham, in 1978, from the London Hospital. He had worked at the London Hospital as a lecturer on the medical unit and in the department of microbiology, following his training at Oxford and St Mary's. His interviewers at East Birmingham must have reasoned that his razor-sharp intellect would make up for any lack of formal training in clinical infectious diseases, the specialty to which he was appointed. Perhaps they also sensed that he had the energy and drive of two normal candidates which ensured that he rapidly became acknowledged not only as an excellent ID clinician, but also as an authority on the use of anti-infective agents, particularly antivirals, Martin having correctly judged that antibacterial development had already reached its zenith, while effective treatments for viruses were imminent and needed the meticulous clinical evaluation at which he excelled.

His eminence was recognised in his appointment as editor of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy from 1995 to 2000, on leaving which he took over the presidency of the journal's parent, the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Both journal and society became hugely influential at home and abroad, shaping the clinical application of anti-infective agents and acting as a unique forum for colleagues with very different backgrounds and constituencies, from laboratory microbiology and clinical infection, to the pharmaceutical industry. Martin's ability to foster cross-fertilisation had as much to do with his personal qualities as his intellect. While he enjoyed his reputation as a worldly-wise cynic, even brief acquaintance revealed an exceptionally generous, hospitable man in whose company boredom was impossible.

He wrote fluently, co-authoring Neurological infections (London, Saunders, 1988) with Milne Anderson and a compendious slide atlas of infectious diseases which proved a valuable teaching aid for those who possessed less energy than he.

He could be tempestuous with his colleagues, though never for long and he is more remembered for his wit and disarming grin. His juniors knew him as a methodical and kind clinician whom they could rely on for support and advocacy. He married Stephanie in 1974 and leaves two sons.

C J Ellis

(Volume XI, page 637)

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