Sep 30, 2010

Ether He Was the First or He Wasn’t

(Wired) 1846: Dentist William Morton uses ether to anesthetize a patient in Boston. It was not the first such use, but it began a train of events leading to the widespread adoption of ether for surgical anesthesia.
Dr. Crawford Long of Jefferson, Georgia, removed a tumor from the neck of James Venable under ether anesthesia March 30, 1842. (Long may have started using ether a year earlier while he was attending medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.) But Long, perhaps giddy with excitement or perhaps from experimenting with ether as a recreational drug (the “ether frolics”), did not rush to publish or patent his discovery. Continued

Image: Ether Monument, Boston, MA.