I want to reach out to personally say, I remember your HIV service before Martin’s arrival. He was like a nuclear explosion, driven by excellence – to say that the service is unrecognisable is to understate the transformation, the pinning on the world map that you have all achieved with his inspirational leadership.
Martin became an HIV consultant in Brighton in 1995, just as effective HIV therapy became available, and proceeded over the next 20 years to build a strong department, with a passionate, dedicated and loyal HIV team. His breadth of interest and knowledge, and desire to improve patient care was recognised nationally and internationally. He had a great ability to foresee what a ‘better service’ looked like, and to quickly impart his dream and vision to others, and take them on his journey. He thought of and introduced initiatives LONG before they became established elsewhere in medicine (morbidity & mortality meetings, patient representatives, multidisciplinary team (MDT)). He was so proud of Brighton; his achievements were always for the team, and not for the individual. He was an inspirational leader and networker who brought people together and produced magic! As one patient said “he was a gifted man in pursuit of medical breakthrough and innovation”. But more than anything else, he was an outstanding physician, with a wonderful bedside manner, who treated his patients like they were his own friends and family.
The Martin Fisher Foundation was launched in September 2015 to provide a structure for continuing Martin’s clinical achievements and inspirational research, and to focus on developing new strategies for effective treatment and prevention. By building on partnerships across the city, the charity brings together stakeholders, all working towards clear ‘Towards Zero’ goals.
A remarkable man: On a personal level Martin was caring, compassionate, funny and I felt always went the extra mile for me. But perhaps that was indicative of the true brilliance of Martin, and the impact he had on mine and many other patients lives. I met Martin when he joined the Lawson Unit in 1995. I’d been told in 1991 I had only 5 years to live and had essentially given up hope for the future. It was Martin’s knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm for his role that pulled me back from the brink on 2 occasions, and saved my life. I always had the sense that even when I was too ill or exhausted to fight for myself, Martin was still fighting for me, and this of course is true for all his patients, I am sure.
It’s remarkable to think of the extent of his legacy when one considers that by saving just one life this legacy extends to so many other people. I’m still here for my partner, family and friends, and by giving me a second chance I was able to return to university, gain a masters and become a child protection social worker, thereby affecting, hopefully positively, many vulnerable childrens’ lives. If we multiply this by all of Martins patients over many years, and his research, and tireless promotion of testing, then the impact of his life and work is quite remarkable. Martin’s legacy is therefore infinite, but unlike ripples on a lake, it has no edges and will go on for generations to come as a result of the people he has saved and those you will all continue to in the future.