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Ever since the discovery of oxygen by Priestley in 1774, it has been used as a therapeutic agent. In fact, Priestley himself made a number of experiments upon animals with the gas, thus preparing the way for experiments upon the human subject. A few years after his discovery, Lavoiser and Spalanzani demonstrated the relationship of oxygen to atmospheric air, and showed in a rough way the changes it produced in the blood. These experiments were more physiological than therapeutical, but not long after this date, Caillens in 1783 employed oxygen therapeutically. Jurine of Geneva, and Chaptal of Montpellier, followed with reports of cases of phthisis benefited by its use. The report of Fucroy to the French Academy was very extreme, making as it did absurd claims for oxygen in the treatment of numerous diseases. Beddoes in 1789 made a number of important observations upon the physiologic action of oxygen, and
PRESTON GJ. THE EFFECT OF INHALATION OF OXYGEN UPON THE HEMOGLOBIN. JAMA. 1895;XXIV(24):913–914. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430240003001a
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