The History of Anesthesia

The History of Anesthesia

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The History of Anesthesia


It is the last football game of the season and the running back suddenly breaks his leg. As John is rushed to the hospital, he thinks of how much pain he is in and how much pain he is going to be in for the next several hours. What John does not know is how much pain he would be in if the medic wouldn't have shot some type of anesthesia into his broken leg. John also doesn't realize that when his grandfather played football, there wasn't any anesthesia and the pain was excruciating.

Anesthesiology is the process in which medical doctors or dentists use drugs to relieve pain in their patients. Anesthesiologists' job is to see that enough medication is given to the patient to make sure he does not feel the pain. These doctors are responsible for make certain that the patient keeps all vital functions. The anesthesiologists are responsible for giving their patients not only the anesthesia, but also any other prescriptions that they might be taking at the time. At the end of the surgery, anesthesiologists undo the procedure.

The first pain medication explored was "sweet vitriol" or ether. Raymundus Lullius, a Spanish chemist, experimented with ether in 1275. Dr. Crawford Williams Long first used ether in medical procedures as an anesthesia on March 30, 1842. Dr. Long extracted a tumor from the neck of one of his patients.

Dr. Morton found Dr. Crawford's experiments interesting and started performing his own experiments at his home in Massachusetts on small animals and himself. Controlling how the drug was given was up to Joseph M. Wightman and Nathan B. Chamberlain. They developed the vaporization process. The safe use of anesthesia came to use in 1846 when Dr. Morton used general anesthesia to put Edward Gilbert Abbott's body under a numbing stage to remove a growth on his neck. After a few more procedures, Morton began to advertise his discovery. He then patented his use of ether and called it Letheon. In the beginning, Morton refused to disclose the chemical makeup of his new discovery and this worried many of the doctors in the area. Before Morton was recognized he died from a stroke (Evans). Morton only knew of one type of anesthesia and that was to put the whole body under a state of numbness and also the case was in WWII.

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Before WWII, anesthesia was generally arranged by nurse anesthetists or partially trained practitioners. During WWII, doctors who knew how to perform anesthesiology were limited. After WWII, anesthesiology picked up the pace. Prior to this, anesthesiologists had to provide their own equipment.

Local anesthesia is used today by doctors to numb a small area of the body such as your hand. This type of anesthesia is common in children who come in with a broken hand or foot. Doctors use regional anesthesia to numb a larger part of the body such as a leg. When the injury is not too serious, the doctor will not put the patient completely under, they use this type of anesthesia. When doctors need to put the patient completely to sleep, they use general anesthesia.

Every year twenty-five million surgeries require some type of anesthesia. During the operation, anesthesiologists select from many types of drugs to fulfil the needs of the operation and the patient. The amount of anesthesia used depends on the person, and the surgery. An older patient or child wouldn't need as much as a healthy middle-aged patient. The amount of anesthesia needed for patients who want to go home after a surgery isn't going to be as much as a patient who is staying in the hospital. If a patient is on some type of medication that will react with the anesthesia, then the doctor then has to find a way around it by using another type of anesthesia.

There are many different types of anesthesia and many different ways to give anesthesia. In general anesthesia the patient have the choice of either gases inhaled through a breathing mask or a type of medication given through an IV. In regional anesthesia the doctor may either numb an area of your body that is being operated on or the patient may be sedated. The main place where regional anesthesia is performed is in the back. In local anesthesia the doctor will inject a needle full of anesthesia into the area of pain.

There are risks of anesthesia just as there is for any operation. Most of the time it is not at fault of the anesthesiologist. If a person is using alcohol, drugs, or a type of nicotine, then the person has greater risk of having a complication. Also if a person in good health compares to a person in bad health, the healthy is less likely to have any complications (Holmes). Complications dealing with anesthesia have gone down drastically over the past twenty-five years. Anesthesiology is becoming a popular career and the numbers of anesthesiologists have doubled in the past twenty-five years.

Some people prefer a more natural effect. Some ways to perform such a procedure is acupuncture, cell therapy, environmental medicine, magnetic field therapy, naturopathic medicine, and osteopathy. Acupuncture is a medical practice used today to increase the immune response by matching the flow of vital life energy to the vital life energy in other parts of the body. Cell therapy is also used today and is the medical practice in which healthy cells are injected into an unhealthy body. The environmental medicine is practices such as dieting and fasting. Magnetic field therapy is the process which magnets are used to help treat the patient. Osteopathy is the process in which the musculoskeletal system is re-established by means of the structural balance. Also hypnotherapy, or hypnosis, is a common anesthesia. !!

As John walks out of the hospital three days later, he is still on a mild anesthesia. He now realizes that he is in a lot of pain and will be for a while. With the medical field advancing every day, anesthesiology will become more advanced in the near future. The future of anesthesia included developing a machine that will take the place of an anesthesiologist. This machine will be able to show the gas flow inside the machine.
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