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May 19, 1962


JAMA. 1962;180(7):550-551. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050200034016

The seventh son of a baker of Bathgate, Scotland, James Young Simpson (1811-1870), introduced inhalation anesthesia into obstetrical practice. His father, having failed as a brewer and a distiller, turned to the bakery trade to support a large family. The brothers and sister must have had some premonition of the eminence of the youngest brother. As manifest proof of Scottish togetherness, they sacrificed that James might receive education and training in preparation for his ultimate destiny as the leading obstetrician in Great Britain.1 At the age of 14, James journeyed a few miles to Edinburgh where he began his university studies, principally in the humanities. But he lodged with premedical students from Bathgate, with the usual result. He continued on at Edinburgh and at the age of 19 qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. With little more than the basic stipulations satisfied, it was possible