Obituary: Martin Lees, Consultant Obstetrician

Martin Lees. Picture: Contributed
Martin Lees. Picture: Contributed
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Tributes have been paid to Martin Lees, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion.

Martin Lees was born in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, and attended Aberdeen Grammar School.

Although he considered a career as a professional pianist, he entered Aberdeen Medical School from which he graduated in 1958. He subsequently did house-jobs in combined Adult and Paediatric Medicine, but his choice of career was influenced most strongly by Sir Dugald Baird, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Aberdeen.

He progressed rapidly to become one of the most admired clinical obstetricians in the UK. He served as a distinguished consultant for over 30 years in the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion, Edinburgh. Everyone who worked alongside him remembers his calmness even during the most stressful moments. Dr Lees collaborated very closely with Professor David Baird in the University of Edinburgh and eventually he led the Infertility Service of the Royal Infirmary. It was no surprise when he was elected President of the Edinburgh Obstetric Society.

Dr Lees was a man of vision. He stimulated the formation of an expert panel, chaired by Ms Lorna Smith, which, after exhaustive consultation, recommended to Lothian Health Board that perinatal services in Edinburgh be centred on one large site, with instant availability of the most up-to-date facilities for mothers and babies. As a consequence, many families have had their lives enhanced by markedly improved clinical care.

He was also a deeply committed teacher and mentor. Not only did he take a close interest in the welfare of his trainees, he provided a valuable pastoral role to everyone in need, no matter their role in the hospital. His interests were wide-ranging. He loved Delius and Mozart, and more recently would revel in the dazzling performances of the John Wilson Orchestra in the Usher Hall.

He was very knowledgeable about contemporary art and included Sir Robin Philipson and Victoria Crowe among his friends. While he enjoyed tennis and golf, he liked nothing better than to be shouting for Scotland at Murrayfield.

He had an enormous sense of fun and adored sharing amusing anecdotes with colleagues and friends alike. His love of KitKats, chocolate florentines and ginger beer was legendary.

Martin Lees was a humble man who treated all his friends with affection and admiration. A new generation of consultants now practises and teaches obstetrics, all of whom are profoundly influenced by his example.

He was happily married to Maureen for 52 years, and she cared for him throughout his last years of illness. He is also survived by a brother, Gordon, a niece, Clare and a nephew, Timothy.