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Monday, 8 August 2011

The First Anaesthetist Dr Crawford Long

Dr. Crawford W. Long (1815-78 see below), a young American surgeon practicing in rural Georgia, came across with some of his friends a traveling medicine vendor demonstrating laughing gas (nitrous oxide).

Impressed by the feelings of elation it gave they went back to Long's room and mucked about using ether, which he knew had a similar effect. The young men became over-excited and started hitting each other but Long noticed they didn’t appear to feel any pain so he decided to experiment with ether in his surgical work.

Thus, on March 30, 1842 Long performed the first recorded operation on an anesthetized patient when he administered ether while removing two tumors from the neck of James Venable, who felt no pain during the surgery.

Long subsequently used ether as an anesthetic for childbirth for the first time on December 27, 1845.

Long was apparently unaware of the full significance of ether anesthetic and did not publish a description of his procedure until 1849. His delay in reporting his discovery kept him for many years from being recognized as the first physician to use anesthesia.

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