Pioneers

Crawford Long

rawford 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 (accidentally) 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.
Crawford Long successfully carried out an operation with Ether, four years before its official discovery. On 30th March 1842, Dr Crawford Williamson Long excised from an acquaintance, James Venable, one of two tumours from his neck.


Venable was one of many people at the time who had an liking to ether parties, so he was used to sniffing the vapours, this meant that the thought of the
 "anaesthetic" via this substance was not feared as much as it could have been had he not tried it first. He had rendered his patient insensible via an ether soaked towel. Some medical students and several other onlookers watched the operation. At first, Dr Long’s patient could scarcely believe what had happened. Only when he was presented with the half-inch-diameter cyst, did Mr Venable realise that a tumour had been removed.

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.
Other pain-free operations on different patients under ether anaesthesia followed.

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.163

                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                

 


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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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