One of the truly great moments in medical history occurred on a tense fall morning in the surgical amphitheater of Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. It was there, on October 16, 1846, that a dentist named William T. G. Morton administered an effective anesthetic to a surgical patient. Consenting to what became a most magnificent scientific revolution were John Warren, an apprehensive surgeon, and Glenn Abbott, an even more nervous young man about to undergo removal of a vascular tumor on the left side of his neck. Both Warren and Abbott sailed through the procedure painlessly, although some have noted that Abbott moved a bit near the end. Turning away from the operating table toward the gallery packed with legitimately dumbstruck medical students, Warren gleefully exclaimed, “Gentlemen, this is no humbug!”1
Markel H. Not So Great Moments: The “Discovery” of Ether Anesthesia and Its “Re-Discovery” by Hollywood. JAMA. 2008;300(18):2188–2190. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.526
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