Paul Martini was born on January 25, 1889, in Frankenthal in the Palatinate. He studied medicine in Munich and Kiel. In 1917, he received his doctorate degree after submitting his dissertation, which he wrote at the institute of Otto Frank, Munich, one of the leading cardiovascular specialists of his time and beyond.
For many years, he served first as an intern and then as assistant medical director at the Second Medical Clinic of the University of Munich, where he habilitated under Friedrich von Müller, one of Germany's leading internal specialists. After his professorial appointment in 1926, he became both chief physician and director of St. Hedwig Hospital in Berlin in 1927.
During this time in Berlin, he published important papers about therapeutic judgment and the first edition of his 1932 monograph "Methods of Therapeutic Examination." Many of his publications show his dissatisfaction with the manner in which physicians used to arrive at their therapeutic recommendations at the time. Based on a broad historic background, he established his objective method of forming a therapeutic judgment that eliminates "secondary causes" as much as possible. He saw a need for action with regard to a reform of pharmaceutical therapy. This need is fully understandable in light of other opinions voiced during the preceding years, which were even then concerned with the flood of pharmaceuticals that could no longer be overlooked. In 1911, this fact also resulted in the establishment of what later became the drug committee of the German Organization of the Medical Profession (Deutsche Ärzteschaft).
In 1932, Paul Martini was appointed Professor for Internal Medicine at the University of Bonn and continued his therapeutic studies in his function as director of the medical clinic, which also provided services to the neurological division at the time. He was a highly respected clinical physician of his time, whose exemplary behavior during the National Socialist era resulted in his appointment as the first post-war president of the German Society for Internal Medicine in 1948. Furthermore, he chaired the first convention for internal medicine after the war in Wiesbaden. He was a highly sought physician in Bonn, whose patients included many prominent politicians.
Although Paul Martini recognized the need for objectifiable therapeutic judgment very early on and advocated formalized physical examinations and biometric evaluation despite the resistance from his other colleagues in internal medicine, he remained largely unknown on an international scale. The dominant figure abroad was Sir Austin Bradford Hill, who became well-known in medical circles particularly by planning the first streptomycin study. In a later acknowledgment of this researcher (Sir Austin Bradford Hill and the Progress of Medical Science, BMJ, by R. Doll, 1992), Martini's name was not listed in the literature references. Early publications of the WHO such as "Principles for the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs" (1968) do not contain any references to Martini's works either.
Paul Martini, who received a large number of honors and awards during his lifetime, died on September 8, 1964, at his hunting lodge in Galenberg in the Eifel region.