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The surgery of the century has been of three periods: the preanæsthetic, the anæsthetic and the modern one. Operative brilliancy characterized the first. The suffering inseparably connected with the use of the knife and the nervous depression resulting therefrom was to be limited chiefly by celerity of execution; hence, the swift moving hand was an essential part of the equipment of the fittest surgeon.
When, in the amphitheatre of the Massachusetts General Hospital, "the problem of surgical anæsthesia was definitively solved," a new period began. Pain was no more, and it was permitted to examine earlier and more thoroughly, to remove more extensively, and to operate successfully in regions previously altogether, or in great measure, beyond the reach of art. For twenty years or more, progress was in the line of diagnosis, of development of new and better methods of operating, of extension of the range of surgical interference. Time
CONNER PS. ADDRESS ON SURGERY. Delivered at the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, Newport, R. I., June 27, 1889. JAMA. 1889;XIII(1):15–19. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.02401030023001c
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