Ian Peter Latto was born at Prittlewell in Essex in 1941. After the traditional post war primary school education, he became a pupil at Reading Grammar School. He left this school to read medicine at St Mary’s Hospital qualifying in 1965.Peter did his house appointments in Chichester followed by various other posts. His appointment as a casualty officer at St George’s Hospital in London brought him into contact with many varied medical emergencies .It was these experiences that kindled his interest in a career in anaesthesia. He was subsequently appointed as an S H O in Anaesthesia at his alma mater in 1967. His next appointment was as a registrar in anaesthesia in Cardiff in 1969 . He obtained his Fellowship in 1970.
It was around this period that he began to become involved in research under the supervision of Professor M Rosen and the academic department headed by Professors W W Mushin and Bill Mapleson. His research activities were mainly in laboratory studies using chromatography to measure blood levels of methoxyflurane, nitrous oxide and halothane .In due course, allied with clinical studies, several papers were published which significantly affected the use of various inhalation agents in the relief of the pain during labour. This episode in his career led to a life long interest in research which has been very rewarding.
There followed a year in the United States of America at the University of Miami. The experiences gained served to add an international flavour to both his clinical practise and research, After his appointment as a Consultant in Cardiff in 1975, his career continued to blossom based on excellent clinical standards, research and education of all involved in anaesthesia.
He was co-author of the 1981 Handbook of Percutaneous Central Vein Catheterisation which was internationally recognised as a very significant contribution to the subject. Second and third editions followed in 1992 and 2000 respectively. During the same period, he had become interested in the problems associated with the recognition and management of a difficult airway. In 1985 he, along with colleagues in Cardiff , published the first edition of Difficulties in Tracheal Intubation He also acted as a co-editor. This book was also very well received internationally and led to the publication of a second edition.
One of his major contribution to the management of the difficult airway has been his investigation into all aspects in the uses of gum elastic bougies. These investigations have resulted in many publications which have led to an increased use of bougies in clinical practise which have been very influential in enhancing patient safety worldwide.
He became a member of the D A S not long after it was formed and was appointed as the Honorary Treasurer. This was a post he thoroughly enjoyed and, as he once remarked, his Scottish ancestry was of great advantage to him in performing his duties .He was involved in the publication of the widely accepted guidelines for the management of the unexpected difficult intubation
There is no doubt that Peter Latto has contributed greatly to increased patient safety and the world literature in anaesthesia .It is a great personal pleasure to strongly recommend Peter for the award of the D A S Macewen Medal which he so richly deserves.