For anyone facing surgery, the possibility of pain looms large. Imagine back to a time when options for “anesthesia” were limited to alcohol or the danger of opium. When a Boston dentist demonstrated the “power of ether” back in 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Jospeh Warren – a well-respected surgeon – announced to a stunned audience in the operating theater – “Gentlemen, this is no humbug.” It was revolutionary.
On this day October 16…
…in 1846, a crowd gathered in the operating theater at Massachusetts General Hospital. A Boston printer with a tumor on his jaw lay on the table. Curious and skeptical physicians and medical students waited impatiently. Finally, Boston dentist William Morton entered the room carrying a glass inhaler with an ether-soaked sponge. He used this apparatus to render the patient unconscious. A surgeon then removed the tumor. After the patient recovered consciousness, he reported that he had experienced no pain but only a sensation like that of being scraped with a blunt instrument. The historic moment was proclaimed “Ether Day,” and hailed around the world as “the greatest gift ever known to mankind.” One London newspaper declared “WE HAVE CONQUERED PAIN.”
Learn more here at MassMoments.com: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=299