Saturday, April 14, 2007

Horace Wells, Father of Surgical Anesthesia

Ok this guy was ahead of his time. Dr. Horace Wells, a dentist, found that Nitrous Oxide (Laughing gas), which was used back then for fun at parties, had anesthetic properties. He felt a real need to help releive the discomfort patients felt in an age when there was no anesthesia. On December 10, 1844, he first had it administered on himself as another dentist removed a bad tooth with good results. After several favorable experiments, a former business partner and student, Dr. William Morton, encouraged him to set up a public demonstration. Dr. Wells extracted a tooth on a patient in front of prominant physicians and students. It went pretty well, but the patient moaned a little after the tooth was already out and all the physicians in the room discounted the demonstration and ridiculed Dr. Wells even though the patient reported reduced levels of pain.

Dr. Morton later on administered Ether for the first time in the same Massachusetts General Hospital ampitheater that Dr. Wells used for his demonstration. Unfortunately, Dr. Wells later on became addicted to Chloroform was sent to prison and used chloroform to block the pain of a self inflicted fatal injury.

Here is an interesting link on: Dr. Wells

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