The most important step forward in modern medicine, “a giant leap for mankind”: Insensibility to pain during surgery and painful procedures

The most important step forward in modern medicine, “a giant leap for mankind”: Insensibility... In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Maurice S Albin focuses on the most important discovery in modern medicine, namely painless surgical operations [1]. Only one month after the successful demonstration of ether (diethyl-ether) inhalation, making a patient insensible to pain during a surgical operation on October 16,1846, Henry Jacob Bigelow published the most important paper during the 200 years of publication of the New England Journal of Medicine [2]. Bigelow described the demonstration of ether anaesthesia in the operating theatre of the Massachusett General Hospital (later named “The Ether-Dome”), by the dentist William Morton, using strong superlatives:“It has long been an important problem in medical science to devise some method of mitigating the pain of surgical operations. An efficient agent for this purpose has at length been discovered. A patient has been rendered completely insensible during an amputation of the thigh, regaining consciousness after a short interval. Other severe operations have been performed without the knowledge of the patients. So remarkable an occurrence will, it is believed, render the following details relating to the history and character of the process, not uninteresting”.And indeed it was not uninteresting: The news spread around the world so rapidly that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scandinavian Journal of Pain de Gruyter

The most important step forward in modern medicine, “a giant leap for mankind”: Insensibility to pain during surgery and painful procedures

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Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2013 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain
ISSN
1877-8860
eISSN
1877-8879
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.sjpain.2013.07.027
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Maurice S Albin focuses on the most important discovery in modern medicine, namely painless surgical operations [1]. Only one month after the successful demonstration of ether (diethyl-ether) inhalation, making a patient insensible to pain during a surgical operation on October 16,1846, Henry Jacob Bigelow published the most important paper during the 200 years of publication of the New England Journal of Medicine [2]. Bigelow described the demonstration of ether anaesthesia in the operating theatre of the Massachusett General Hospital (later named “The Ether-Dome”), by the dentist William Morton, using strong superlatives:“It has long been an important problem in medical science to devise some method of mitigating the pain of surgical operations. An efficient agent for this purpose has at length been discovered. A patient has been rendered completely insensible during an amputation of the thigh, regaining consciousness after a short interval. Other severe operations have been performed without the knowledge of the patients. So remarkable an occurrence will, it is believed, render the following details relating to the history and character of the process, not uninteresting”.And indeed it was not uninteresting: The news spread around the world so rapidly that

Journal

Scandinavian Journal of Painde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2013

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