Despite not convincingly demonstrating nitrous oxide's effectiveness during a demonstration in 1845, Wells said he deserved credit for the discovery of surgical inhalation anesthesia. Our editors will review what you submitted and determine if they should review the article. While practicing in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1844, Wells observed the analgesic properties of nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) during a traveling laughing gas show and later used it to perform painless dental operations. He was allowed to demonstrate the method at Massachusetts General Hospital in January 1845, but when the patient groaned, leading viewers to conclude that the patient was in pain, Wells was exposed to ridicule.
There has been considerable controversy over who first discovered anesthesia, but it is true that William T. Morton publicly showed his usefulness in surgery for the first time. The introduction of ether as an anesthetic was a great help in the advancement of surgery and relief for patients around the world. The man responsible for its introduction is Morton, who originally began looking for an anesthetic while practicing dentistry in Connecticut.
At the time, dentists were particularly interested in finding a way to reduce pain, because unlike other medical conditions that require painful surgery, dental ailments are rarely life-threatening and therefore patients were unwilling to undergo surgery for them (Duffy 11). Since Morton's specialty was artificial teeth, which required extraction, he experimented with a variety of potential pain reducers, stimulants, intoxication, opium and mesmerism, but none seemed to work well enough. Eventually, he enrolled as a medical student with Dr. Jackson, in an attempt to find a solution.
Jackson showed his students that unconsciousness results from the inhalation of pure sulfuric ether, and recommended it to Morton for use in dentistry. After painlessly extracting the teeth of patients who were under the influence of ether, Morton began to see the drug's potential in more complicated and invasive surgeries. In 1846, he persuaded surgeon Dr. John Collins Warren to allow anesthesia of a patient undergoing removal of a neck tumor (Kelly & Burrage 878-87. In front of a Harvard Medical School class, the operation was performed painlessly to the patient.
Henry Bigelow, reported his observations in a medical journal. The support of men like Bigelow and Warren, who had such a good reputation, allowed the use of ether to spread around the world (Garrison 50). He spent the rest of his life involved in a costly feud with Jackson, who claimed priority in the discovery, despite official recognition given to Wells and Georgia rural doctor Crawford Long. Wells made the connection of stage fun to the clinical tool, and, on December 11, 1844, he inhaled nitrous oxide from a silk-oil bag provided by Colton and made his dental partner John M.
Riggs will pull out a problem tooth. Morton, not by chance, began performing “painless dentistry” in September after Wells demonstration using ether, a chemical with analgesic properties similar to those of nitrous oxide. Fenster, Wells, an intelligent and ambitious 29-year-old dentist, and his wife, Elizabeth, saw a demonstration on nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. The young man with the rotten tooth would later admit that he was not really in pain and didn't even know that the extraction had occurred until he saw the bloody tooth in the dentist's hands.
Of course, the most pleasant moments of the night were when the “teacher” invited audience members to the stage to inhale the gases themselves. Morton did not “discover anesthesia,” nor was he the first person to try to relieve surgical pain by administering ether or any other medication through the inhalation route. Wells learned from Colton how to make nitrous oxide and after successfully using it on some of his patients, he was ready to announce his discovery to the medical fraternity. It is humiliating to note that most of the great discoveries have been made by ordinary men who dared and did extraordinary feats despite their fears and failures.
After the demonstration, Morton tried to hide the identity of the substance Abbott had inhaled, referring to it as “Letheon”, but it was soon discovered that it was ether. Jackson, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, began inhaling nitrous oxide in 1841, and in 1844, he had persuaded several local dentists that gas could be useful in relieving his patients' toothache. He became so obsessed with the high he felt when inhaling the gas addict, some would later say that he risked his life more than once in his attempts to inhale increasing quantities, and even had a colleague build a portable gas chamber for him so that he could access the gas wherever and whenever he wanted. And it was Jackson who suggested in September 1846, nine months after the embarrassing Wells incident at Harvard, that another Boston-area dentist, William T.
News of this use of ether spread rapidly around the world, and the first recorded use of ether outside the United States was in London, England, by dentist James Robinson, in a tooth extraction at the home of Francis Boote, an American doctor who had heard of the Morton and Bigelow demonstrations. On his Affirmation of the Discovery of the Anesthetic Properties of Ether; Presented to the Honorable Selected Committee Appointed by the United States Senate, 32nd Congress, 2nd Session, January 21, 1853. .