A History of General Anesthesia

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General Anesthesia

In the early 1800’s, before the use of anesthesia, many patients with life threatening issues would forgo surgery and choose the permanent path of death rather than undergo a painful, emotionally scarring procedure such as surgery before anesthesia. When surgeries did take place, they would be performed on the top floors of hospitals so that the other patients couldn’t hear the screams. More than 8,000 anesthesia-free operations were performed in the Ether Dome at Mass General Hospital, coincidentally the birthplace of the first surgery “without pain” (Mass General).
On October 16th, 1846 the world of surgery changed forever. Taking place in the Ether Dome at Mass General Hospital was the surgical removal of a tumor in a man’s neck. The surgeon was the world renowned Doctor John Warren. Before Doctor Warren could slice into the man’s neck, William TJ Morten, a dentist, ran into the room. He presented a bag filled with a gas called Ether, and swore that he could erase all of the patient’s pain. He had tested this gas on himself, his dog, and his goldfish. Doctor John Warren gave him permission to try out this relatively untested gas on his patient. For the first time in surgical history, the Ether Dome stayed silent throughout the surgery. No screaming, no flailing, and no burly men needed to hold the patient down (Decoding The Void). Soon Doctors all over the world were using general anesthesia, and history was made.
Now let’s break down what General Anesthesia actually is. General Anesthesia makes you both unconscious and unable to feel pain during medical procedures. A study done by a team from Harvard Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical college, and the Massachusetts Ins...

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... place on any floor of a hospital and be a far less dangerous event. Thanks to a dentist and his goldfish, people all around the world can be treated medically and not come out emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives.

Works Cited
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"Decoding The Void." Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2014.
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Freeman, Shanna. "How Anesthesia Works." HowStuffWorks., 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 15 May 2014.
Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 15 May 2014.
"General Anesthesia ." General Anesthesia. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2014.
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Landau, Elizabeth. CNN. Cable News Network, 17 May 2010. Web. 15 May 2014.
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