[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 13, 1913


Author Affiliations

Instructor in Anesthetics, Rush Medical College; Anesthetist to the Presbyterian Hospital CHICAGO

JAMA. 1913;61(11):834-837. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04350110016005

In the older records in medical literature there is abundance of evidence that many of the drugs which are employed to-day and which we are prone to consider recent discoveries were used by the ancients for the relief of pain during surgical and other procedures. They made decoctions from the leaves, bark and roots of plants and trees, which they drank, inhaled the fumes of or applied locally. In order to produce sufficient insensibility for operative measures very large doses had to be given. As a result patients frequently remained unconscious for hours or slept on to death. When the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxid, ether and chloroform were discovered, these agents rapidly replaced the drugs employed at that time, but it was generally thought necessary or expedient to reinforce them with drugs possessing hypnotic virtues. Morton, for example, gave large doses of opium before administering ether. As the action