Martin Peter Ward Platt
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Martin Ward Platt, Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician, Newcastle upon Tyne. Martin’s interests spanned all aspects of Child Health from teaching and training to service delivery, public health and research. To all of these he brought a truly unique style and had an extraordinary ability to communicate any concept, however complex, to any audience. He had a huge range and depth of other interests and one invariably learnt something new from conversations with him.
He was a gifted teacher, influencing many to become paediatricians. Trainees and colleagues alike benefitted from his support, guidance and unfailing projection of calm. He brought warmth, kindness and compassion to the care of babies and their families and made medical jargon-free speaking an art form. He challenged existing dogma and maintained a strong clinical interest in paediatrics beyond the neonatal unit, treating several generations of some families.
Martin’s research advanced knowledge of the metabolic and endocrine adaptations following birth as well as many other aspects of neonatal care, including assessment and treatment of pain. He helped amalgamate maternity services in Newcastle and was heavily involved in the development of the UK’s first collaborative neonatal network, later formalised into the Northern Neonatal Network. Locally he also helped integrate Child Health services across Newcastle and his passion for child health saw him hold several major roles in local neonatal and paediatric charities.
Martin was the perinatal data lead for the Northeast Region over many years and had a highly productive collaboration with the CESDI research programme. More recently he led the establishment and running of the national register of congenital anomalies and rare diseases, a role he filled with great distinction. Over the last few months of his life Martin worked with the Southwest team in starting to establish a national registry of unexpected child deaths – his ability to work with bereaved families and molecular scientists with equal ease was a major factor in the rapid progress of this project.
In the course of 20 years at Archives of Disease in Childhood, Martin held many roles including interim editor in chief. He used his clinical and academic intellect to arrive at the nub of an issue, but was always the first to give authors struggling to present their case the benefit of the doubt or a second chance.
Outside of work Martin had a wide range of interests and carried through his sense of caring in everything he undertook. Throughout his final illness he made light of the challenges he faced and strove to protect those around him. He leaves his wife Anne, two sons and a grandson.
Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician, Newcastle upon Tyne