b.1 December 1867 d.21 April 1923
BA Oxon(1892) MA DM MA Cantab MRCS FRCP(1904)
Arthur Latham was born at Cambridge, the son of P. W. Latham, F.R.C.P., Downing professor of medicine, and his wife Jemima McDiarmid of Dumfries. He was educated at Fettes and passed a year at Edinburgh University before going up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained first-class honours in natural science in 1892; at the same time he was a member of King’s College, Cambridge. He qualified from St. George’s Hospital in 1894 and, winning the Radcliffe travelling fellowship in the following year, continued his studies at Vienna, Heidelberg and Berlin. In 1898 he was promoted, from junior appointments at his own Hospital, to the office of assistant physician, and seven years later became full physician, having served as dean of the School from 1902 to 1904. He was also assistant physician to the Victoria Hospital for Children from 1897 to 1900 and to the Brompton Hospital from 1900 to 1909, resigning from the latter on becoming physician to the Mount Vernon Hospital for Tuberculosis. It was as a consultant on pulmonary tuberculosis that Latham was best known, and his reputation was greatly enhanced when, in 1902, he won, in association with A. W. West, an architect, a £500 prize for an essay on the construction of the proposed King Edward VII Sanatorium at Midhurst. His book on The Diagnosis and Modern Treatment of Pulmonary Consumption (1903) passed into a fourth edition, and with Sir Crisp English he edited a System of Treatment (1912). But he was also an able organiser and took an active part in the negotiations with medical societies leading to the foundation of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1907. A man of high intellectual powers, he disguised an inner sensitiveness, which had been bruised by a series of personal misfortunes, behind an abrupt, outspoken manner that antagonised many of his colleagues and patients.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1923; B.M.J., 1923; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1924, 14]
(Volume IV, page 462)
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