My friend and colleague Professor Marek Miller, who has died of cancer at the age of 61, came late to medicine, having initially studied psychology, but with youthful energy he took on the arduous training for surgery. He graduated from University College hospital, London, in 1987 and completed his specialist training in 1997.
Marek joined Northampton general hospital as a consultant urologist, and his organisational skills helped to establish the highly regarded urological surgery department, followed by a state-of-the-art endourology stone service (minimally invasive urologic surgery to treat kidney stones in the urinary tract).
He developed a particular expertise in vasectomy reversal, and many alive today owe their conception to his dexterity. A tireless trainer, he became training programme director for urology in both Oxford and east Midlands deaneries. His appointment as professor at Cranfield University in 2013 was inevitable.
But there was more to Marek than his distinguished career. His Polish parents, Witold Sielewicz (he used his wife’s surname once they moved to England), who ran a jewellery company near Hatton Garden, London, and his wife Dana Miller, an administrator in the company, escaped the horrors of Hitler and Stalin, and eventually found refuge in Britain. Born in Chiswick, west London, Marek remained proud of his Polish background.
He was always charming and sociable, so much so that he was obliged to resit his A-levels at Latymer school, whose academic curriculum was inconvenient to his elaborate social life. After that he always worked hard at whatever he set his mind to. Marek was a wonderful wit in the widest sense: his humour was intelligent and gently sardonic, but never cruel, and his observations on the mundane, often sotto voce, had his companions in fits.
His enduring passions were rugby and fly-fishing. He even managed to combine them on an otherwise fruitless fishing trip, tucking a small TV into his waders and enjoying an England-Scotland match while catching the week’s solitary salmon. But his main passion was his family: he met Charlotte Gath at medical school in 1984; they were married in 1989, and went on to have four talented boys.
On his retirement in January 2020, Marek intended to spend his well-earned rest with his family and friends, fishing, watching rugby and entertaining at the family’s house in Italy, but within a few months he was diagnosed with an aggressive cholangiocarcinoma – bile duct cancer. He never burdened those around him with his suffering, and his gentle humour lasted to the end.
He is survived by Charlotte, their sons David, Harry, Michael and Joe, his brother Marcin, and his mother Dana.