Edward Gilbert Abbott

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The MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine traces its roots back to the October 16, 1846 public demonstration of medical ether.

Edward Gilbert Abbott (1825–55) was the patient upon whom William TG Morton first publicly demonstrated the use of ether as a surgical anesthetic. The operation was done in an amphitheater at the Massachusetts General Hospital now known as the Ether Dome on 16 October 1846. After Morton administered the ether, surgeon John Collins Warren removed a portion of a tumor from Abbott's neck.[1] After Warren had finished, and Abbott regained consciousness, Warren asked the patient how he felt. Reportedly, Abbott said, "Feels as if my neck's been scratched". Warren then turned to his medical audience and uttered "Gentlemen, this is no Humbug".[2][3] This was presumably a reference to the unsuccessful demonstration of nitrous oxide anesthesia by Horace Wells in the same theater the previous year, which was ended by cries of "Humbug!" after the patient groaned with pain.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pernick, Martin S (1985). A Calculus of Suffering. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 3. 
  2. ^ Fenster, J. M. (2001). Ether Day: The Strange Tale of America's Greatest Medical Discovery and the Haunted Men Who Made It. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-019523-6.
  3. ^ The Roots of Critical Care, Jennifer Nejman Bohonak, Massachusetts General Magazine, 2011
  4. ^ "Horace Wells". Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  5. ^ Fenster, J. M. (2001). Ether Day: The Strange Tale of America's Greatest Medical Discovery and the Haunted Men Who Made It. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-019523-6. 

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