The Discovery of Surgical Anesthesia

"Insensibility during Surgical Operations produced by Inhalation"

[in:] The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. Edited by J.V.C. Smith. Vol. XXXV, No. 16, 309-317 & 379-82 pp. One text illus. 544 pp. 8vo, modern half-calf & marbled boards. Boston: 18 November, 1846.

First edition, the formal announcement of the discovery of surgical anesthesia. Morton was unwilling to disclose any details of ether, his new anesthetic agent, until he could obtain a patent. However, Bigelow convinced him to change his mind early in Nov. 1846 when an amputation was performed. Bigelow then wrote an account of several operations, with remarks on the history, chemistry and physiology of ether, which was published in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. In no. 18 for December 2nd, J.F. Flagg published some remarks on Bigelow’s paper, to which Bigelow replied in no. 19 for December 9th (pp. 379-82). The issues after no. 16 also contain other material on the new anesthesia, including comments by J.C. Warren, who performed the first operation when anesthesia was used by Morton. The effect of Bigelow’s article was dramatic, and news of the operations under ether spread quickly.

This issue contains 16 other studies on individual surgical anesthetics and early references to the patent claim by Bigelow, Dana, Cox, Ellsworth, Flagg, Kimball, Mansfield, Parkman, Peirson, Smilie, Wallace, and J.C. Warren, along with seven editorials on the subject.

Nice copy.

❧ Fulton & Stanton IV.1, VII.4, 10, 18, 25, 29, 50, 54, 63, 68, 69, 92, 108, 119, 120, 122, 151, 157. Garrison-Morton 5651. Grolier Club, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 64A.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 5376

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