The Gold Medal is the highest accolade given by the Royal College of Anaesthetists in recognition of sustained contributions to the specialty of anaesthesia at the highest level. This distinction is generally only given every two to three years.
Professor Jaideep Pandit has published widely in a diverse range of fields covering respiratory physiology and difficult airway management, cardiovascular physiology and vascular anaesthesia (including a chapter in Gray’s Anatomy on carotid artery structure), operating theatre management, neuroscience and pharmacology. Most notably, Professor Pandit led the largest-ever study on ‘accidental awareness during surgery’, making recommendations that have changed clinical practice and reduced the incidence of this much-feared complication of anaesthesia.
Professor Pandit has a long-standing history of studying and collaborating with DPAG. His training in Medicine at Oxford culminated in a First in Physiology, before being awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship to support a DPhil in Respiratory Physiology at DPAG, supervised by Professor Peter Robbins, a former Head of Department. For many years, he has been working in the field of anaesthetic mechanisms with Associate Professor Keith Buckler. Together they discovered that common anaesthetics can compete with each other and antagonise each other’s effects: hitherto it was believed that anaesthetics only acted additively to achieve the same effect. This mutual antagonism now raises the possibility that novel mechanisms of actions are responsible for the anaesthetic effect.
On receipt of his award from the RCoA, Professor Pandit said: “I had never expected this award. There are some things one applies for in the knowledge that someone has to be a recipient, but this is an award made out-of-the-blue as it were, with no prior knowledge or expectation. I am humbled and honoured that somewhere a very distinguished panel of peers has felt moved enough by my work, and that of my colleagues and collaborators, to honour me in this way. This is a rarely given award: the last award made to an Oxford anaesthetist was 20 years ago, to the then Nuffield Professor Pierre Foex, and to follow in his steps is a special privilege.”
The Gold Medal is the latest in a long series of awards and distinctions for Professor Pandit’s contributions to clinical anaesthesia, patient safety and research. These include the Gold Jubilee Medal 2000, the Macintosh Professorship 2012, the Humphry Davy Medals 2015 and 2018, and the Rowling Medal 2019, all from the Royal College. He was also awarded the Spring Silver Medal 2012 from the Irish College of Anaesthetists, the Emerald/EDRF International Prize in Healthcare Management 2017, and British Medical Journal Award for Patient Safety 2020. He has delivered the Victor Horsley Lecture of the British Medical Association 2015, and the Spyros Makris Lecture of the Greek Society of Anaesthesia.