The Age of Discovery
William E Clarke
In January 1842 in America, a medical student at the Berkshire Medical College in Massachusetts, William E Clarke who was an ardent fan of ether frolics, he returned to his hometown of Rochester, New York, during a break in the lecture schedule.
Clarke discovered that the sister of one of his classmates, a Miss Hobbie, needed a tooth extracted. He applied ether via a towel to a patient whilst a dentist Elijah Pope, painlessly removed one of her teeth. Because they never recorded it at the time, they missed an opportunity for everlasting fame. Historians only mention it briefly. 174
However, Professor E. M. Moore, Clarke's preceptor, told him that the entire incident could be explained as the hysterical reaction of women to pain. At Moore's suggestion, Clarke discontinued his experimentation. 175 If had not listened to the explanation of his Professor, maybe Clarke would have pursued this even further and been accredited with its discovery
Crawford Long 1815-1878
Crawford Long was Born in Danielsville, Georgia on November 1, 1815, He came from a cotton farming well to do family and his first surgical act was to nearly amputate his sisters fingers with an axe (accidently) and then to put those bleeding fingers back into place, most children of his age would have panicked and the result would have been the loss of his sisters fingers, his quick action and follow up by his mother saved the fingers.
He graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1839. Like many of those credited with discovering anaesthesia, Long was exposed to the recreational use of nitrous oxide and ether. After training in New York, he returned to Georgia and began medical practice in rural Jefferson.
His bill for two dollars itemised the cost of the ether as well as the tumour excision. On 6th June, Dr Long excised Mr Venable’s second tumour.
The procedures included the removal by Dr Long of a toe, a finger and another cyst. He did not however publish his results until after Morton successful attempt, so was not credited with its discovery. Crawford Long figures historically, as the unofficial discoverer of anaesthesia. 174