Nitrous oxid was introduced as an anesthetic by Wells in 1844, ether by Morton in 1846 and chloroform by Simpson in 1847. Although a large number of other agents have been tried since, these three introduced within the short period from 1844 to 1847 still remain the most valuable means of producing general anesthesia.
In 1868, Edmund Andrews of Chicago demonstrated the value of the mixture of nitrous oxid and oxygen as an agent for continued anesthesia. In 1884, Kohler discovered the value of cocain as a local anesthetic. In 1899, Bier produced, by the injection of cocain into the subarachnoid space of the spinal cord, anesthesia of the lower extremities and the lower part of the trunk. In 1869, Claude Bernard observed in experiments on dogs that morphin, given before the administration of chloroform, facilitated its action and reduced the amount required. This suggestion was soon put into practical
BEVAN AD. THE CHOICE OF THE ANESTHETIC. JAMA. 1911;LVII(23):1821–1824. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260120011004
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