Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The use of anaesthetics before 19th century

From ancient times anesthesia in surgery has been attempted by various agents or anaesthetics.

From 9th to 13th century, the soporific sponge was the usual mode of providing pain relief during surgery. Mandrake leaves, black night-shade, poppies and other herbs were boiled together and cooked onto a sponge.

Prior to surgery, this sponge was moistened and held over the face to induce unconsciousness. Nitrous oxide first accurately investigated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1799. He experimented freely with it upon himself and others and ascertained its remarkable property, when inhaled of annulling pain.

Ether was administered from the early 1840s, but the impact on general medical practice began after William Thomas Green Morton publicly administered ether to Gilbert Abbot in 16th October 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

In 1858, Benjamin Ward Richardson published his studies using an apparatus that sprayed ether topically and froze the peripheral nerves by evaporation.

In 1847 James Simpson discovered the benefits of chloroform while experimenting with chemicals at home with some doctor friends. He later used it for women giving birth, and the idea spread to other operations.
The use of anaesthetics before 19th century

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