The Age of Discovery

The Spreading of the Word

The word of the means to alleviate pain during surgery was soon spread across America and then eventually to Europe. Francis Boott an American from the city of Boston (although his parents were British) had many friends on both sides of the pond; one of those friends was Jacob Bigelow Professor of Materia Medical at Harvard.
He wrote to Francis Boott sending him an account of the process used. He also mentions that he sent his daughter to Morton's private rooms to have a tooth painlessly extracted using Ether.
Not long after he received it at his house on Gower Street in London the dentist James Robinson extracted a molar under ether anaesthetic from a young woman. She was completely insensible to pain throughout the entire procedure.

Boott was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the brother of Kirk Boott, one of the founders of Lowell, Massachusetts. Kirk Boott's father (born in Derby, England, 1750-1817), was also called Kirk Boott. He had emigrated to the United States from England in 1783, and worked in Boston as a wholesale merchant. He was a friend of Joseph Wright of Derby and his family. 179

Boott wrote to the famed surgeon of the day Robert Liston and he in turn contacted Peter Squire a chemist showing him Boott's letter. The chemist suggested it was most interesting and Liston ordered some for the following Monday in which he had a planned amputation to perform. Peter Squire tried the concoction out on his son William, and was suitably impressed.

From then on it was history, with Liston painlessly amputating a patient’s leg using ether. William Squire was the anaesthetist.

Liston is quoted as saying:

"We are going to try a Yankee dodge today gentleman for making a man insensible"




'Time me gentlemen, time me!' 180






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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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