Who deserves the credit for discovering ether's use as a surgical anesthetic?

OHSU School of Dentistry, USA.
Journal of the history of dentistry 02/2008; 56(1):38-43.
Source: PubMed


This paper discusses the controversy based around the discovery of inhalation anesthesia. Although many contributors claim to be the discoverer, deeper research into the events leading to anesthesia can award credit to a select few. It can be determined that anesthesia in animals was discovered by Paracelsus back in the fifteenth century and that the first person to demonstrate ether's use as a surgical anesthetic was Dr. William Morton in 1846.

Full-text preview

Available from:

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2009 · Bulletin of anesthesia history
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Surgeons in ancient times undertook diverse operations, usually at great speed to diminish the duration of suffering. Skulls from 5,000 BCE show trephination, the removal of a piece of bone from the head. Egyptians in 3,600 BCE performed circumcisions and tracheotomies. In 1700 BCE, Babylonians excised tumors. Egyptians cauterized breast tumors and excised peripheral aneurysms. The Roman surgeon, Galen, in the second Century CE, treated cataracts to restore sight, and he cut out the uvula to cure chronic coughing. Surgeons in Europe might be physicians, monks or barbers who in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries wrote books on surgery. They gained recognition by their study of the anatomy of cadavers. Thus, in 1543 Vesalius published On the Fabric of the Human Body, demolishing centuries of errors, and opening the door to the performance of accurate surgery.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013
  • Source
    Article: Savasana

    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014