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   Obituary - Peter Slater


Peter Anderson Slater

Nickname: Horse/Horsey
House: Hawke
Year: 1953-1959

This is a reproduction of an Obriuary Notice that appeared in the The Courier on Friday, 23rd April 2004.

Surgeon dies tragically after heart donor wait

Image of Peter Slater

By Liz Fowler

AN ANGUS orthopaedic surgeon has died tragically after the donor organ he finally received just days ago, after a long agonising wait for a heart transplant, failed.

Peter Slater, whose home was in Brechin, died at the weekend at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, aged 63.

From 1978, when he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Stracathro Hospital, the skills Mr Slater brought to the operating theatre helped save the lives of numerous patients badly injured in car accidents.

At 49, however, his career was prematurely brought to an end after a series of heart attacks signalled the beginnings of chronic heart failure.

He had a mini defibrillator implanted, which saved his life at least twice, and also underwent by-pass surgery.

Though unable to perform surgery, he carried on as a doctor and became a rehabilitation physician in Aberdeen, working with amputees and ensuring their prosthetic limbs were fitted well enough to ensure a better life.

As his heart continued to fail, he was forced to give up work completely in 1993. His name was finally added to a handful of Scots waiting for a heart transplant in 2002.

Born in Aberdeen, the eldest of seven children, Mr Slater was brought up in Kenya where his father was a GP. He was educated in Nakuru and then at the Prince of Wales School in Nairobi.

He returned from Africa in 1960 to study medicine at Aberdeen University, where he met his wife.

Following graduation, he worked in the Aberdeen hospitals for four years and a succession of posts in Middlesbrough and Birmingham before he returned north.

While he worked in Aberdeen he was seconded to Stracathro Hospital for a year, which he enjoyed so much that when the post of consultant orthopaedic surgeon became vacant he decided to apply. He quickly established a reputation not only as a capable surgeon, but as a kindly, caring person.

Determined to keep as active as he could while waiting for the heart he hoped would bring him new life, he started woodcarving and enjoyed birdwatching and bridge.

He was a founder member of the Implanted Defibrillator Association of Scotland, serving as secretary then president, and devising and printing all the information leaflets for the benefit of nurses and GPs as well as patients and their relatives. He also edited the association magazine.

He was president of the Brechin Rotary Club, and over the years proved a committed charity fund-raiser. His latest project was to be in aid of the British Heart Foundation, and a collection for the foundation will be taken at his funeral service, to be held on Wednesday in Brechin Cathedral.

Peter's original entry in the Alumni section (made during 2003) contained the following:

After getting deferred call-up from the Kenya Regiment I went to a Crammer in London to do my Higher School Cert earlier in order to go to University a year earlier than I could have from the Princo. I went to Aberdeen University and read Medicine graduating in 1966. I then worked in Aberdeen, Middlesborough, Birmingham and Aberdeen again whilst training to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

I gained my FRCS from Edinburgh and the Specialist registration. My Consultant post was in Aberdeen and Stracathro and I held Honorary Senior Lecturer status in the University. My area of special interest was Prosthetics and Orthotics.

I married a class mate, Isobel Craig, and we have three children, two girls and a boy. The eldest girl is an E.R. Registrar in Auckland New Zealand; the second girl a call centre manager and has presented us with a grand-daughter; and my son is training to enter the Ministry.

After five heart attacks I had to retire in 1993 on medical grounds. Since then I have learnt to cook, garden and to carve wood. I am at present awaiting a heart transplant.