Observations BMJ Confidential

Paul Marks: Last of the doctor-only coroners

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5824 (Published 02 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5824


Paul Marks is a neurosurgeon who was a consultant at Leeds General Infirmary for 20 years until, in 2012, he switched careers to become coroner for the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull. He was the last coroner to be appointed before new rules required a legal qualification. As a surgeon he specialised in spinal surgery, vascular problems, and pituitary disease and was elected Hunterian professor by the Royal College of Surgeons in 1994 for his research on pituitary tumours. His long interest in medicolegal issues led him to work part time in the coronial service—and, since 2012, full time.

What was your earliest ambition?

At school I wanted to be a cathedral organist, but I realised that I’d have to perform pieces by composers whose works I couldn’t stand—Britten, Walton, Tippett, Berkeley. At university I wanted to be either a neurosurgeon or a forensic pathologist.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Tom King at the London Hospital, for capturing my interest in neurosurgery; Roger Whittaker, coroner for …

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