Account of a New Anaesthetic Agent as a Substitute for Sulphuric Ether in Surgery and Midwifery.

23 pp. 8vo, modern morocco, a.e.g. Edinburgh: Sutherland & Knox; London: S. Highley, 1847.

Second edition (“Third Thousand”), published three days after the first, with the postscript which appears in this printing for the first time. This paper announced the discovery of chloroform as an anesthetic.

The first printed announcement of the discovery bears a postscript dated November 12, and has the title Notice of a New Anæsthetic Agent; it has 22 pages, and only the Edinburgh publisher Sutherland & Knox in the imprint. The present second edition, sometimes called a second issue but the text was actually reset, has a postscript dated three days later (November 15th). It has 23 pages, the London publisher Samuel Highley included in the imprint, and textual changes, including an additional paragraph at the end stating that Simpson had successfully used chloroform in fifty cases to date. The title was changed to Account…, giving a less ephemeral air to the publication.

“James Young Simpson was a professor of midwifery at the University of Edinburgh. He was the first to appreciate the value of chloroform as an anesthetic. In this pamphlet, Simpson describes his discovery of the narcotic effects of chloroform through self-experimentation with his assistants Dr. George Keith and Dr. Mathews Duncan on November 4, 1847. He then, on November 8, gave chloroform to an obstetric patient. Two days later, on November 10, Simpson reported the narcotic effects of chloroform before the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh…

“Simpson published his findings between November 12 and 15. The November 12 version, ‘Notice of a New Anaesthetic Agent,’ did not report any use of chloroform. The November 15 version, now called ‘Account of a New Anaesthetic Agent,’ contained a postscript reporting four surgical uses of chloroform.”–Sim, The Heritage of Anesthesia, p. 80.

Nice copy. Very short tear to blank portion of title. Ownership inscription of William Alexander Greenhill (1814-94), physician to the Radcliffe Infirmary and pioneer in sanitary reform, dated Jan. 1848.

❧ Lilly, Notable Medical Books, 201. Garrison-Morton 5657 refers to the 3-page article by Simpson in the London Medical Gazette which appeared about a week after this paper. Fulton & Stanton VI.1.

Price: $5,000.00

Item ID: 5332

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