It’s with great sadness that we share the news that Prof Martin Tattersall AO died at the weekend. Prof Tattersall will be dearly missed by his patients and all of us at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Above all, we will remember Prof for his unwavering dedication to his patients and their families. He was always available, often contactable on his personal number at all hours. Many remember attending social events with Prof, and suddenly noting his absence. He would be found off to one side, on a call to a patient or family member. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he put his patients first.
He was a popular and well-liked oncologist and colleague with a cracking sense of humour and was a man of outstanding kindness and generosity. He achieved an enormous amount in his lifetime.
As a young UK cancer expert in 1977 he was appointed Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Sydney and that same year he founded the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Department of Medical Oncology.
Prof Tattersall was one of the “fathers” of medical oncology in Australia. He was responsible for training dozens of medical oncologists, many of whom have gone on to head cancer centres and research institutes across Australia and internationally.
Martin was a skilled educator who was committed to teaching the next generation of oncologists. He also travelled widely to developing countries to educate healthcare professionals about cancer and oncology. His teaching was always interwoven with humour, making his lessons highly engaging.
He was a prolific researcher with interests that spanned from the laboratory through to clinical research. He was one of the first to understand the importance of communication and psychological research in cancer. He published more than 400 research papers across a range of critical topics in cancer research.
Prof Tattersall was a member of the World Health Organisation Cancer Committee for 20 years, and he was a Life Member of the International Union Against Cancer Roll of Honour. He was awarded the Medical Oncology Group of Australia Cancer Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2003 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to medicine as a leading oncology researcher, clinician and educator, as an advocate for patients’ rights. He chaired the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee from 1997-2008.
Prof worked in the Department of Medical Oncology for over 40 years. He will be dearly missed by his colleagues for his breadth of knowledge, sage advice, inherent warmth, brilliant sense of humour and entertaining tales of travels across the globe.