Martin Barratt

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 18 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1938
  1. Janet Fricker, Hemel Hempstead
  1. janet.fricker1{at}

Paediatric nephrologist who helped develop children’s kidney services in the UK

Today it’s hard to imagine how rudimentary the treatment offered to children with kidney disease was before Martin Barratt set up his unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Paediatric kidney diseases were generally poorly understood, with young children considered too small to be treated with long term dialysis, and cared for mainly by general paediatricians with only a passing interest in nephrology.

In 1971 Barratt’s appointment as senior lecturer and honorary consultant in paediatric nephrology at GOSH helped transform the therapeutic landscape. Working with Michael Dillon, who joined the fledgling unit as second consultant in 1975, Barratt brought peritoneal dialysis, haemodialysis, and later renal transplantation to ever younger children. As early advocates of multidisciplinary care, they sought input on patients from colleagues in urology, radiology, and pathology. “Clinically, Martin had the most wonderful clarity of thought—making the most complex issues clear,” said Michael Levin, who was his registrar and later research fellow. “He had an absolute belief that the job of a consultant was to offer patients the best of all available evidence.”

An example of this was the occasion when he was contacted at two in …

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