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Free Custom «The Medical Breakthrough Following the Invention of Anesthesia» Essay Paper

Free Custom «The Medical Breakthrough Following the Invention of Anesthesia» Essay Paper


The discovery of ether as an anesthesia substance was quite vital in eliminating pain during surgery procedures. Dr. William Morton’s discovery of the use of ether to tranquilize patients was indeed a milestone. A frozen limit had indeed been realized. Previously, patients who underwent tooth removal and other surgery procedures had to endure a lot of pain associated with such operations (BLTC 2. No form of pain reliever existed in the many years that doctors have practiced medicine before William Morton. Most patients were given alcohol and opium to create some sense of drunkenness while the operations were going on. The alcoholic substances however failed to spare the patients of pain associated with surgery. In 1846, William Morton successfully came up with ether as a way to desensitize patient’s nerves to help them avoid pain (Hilds and Kansagra 7). Such an invention was such iconic and helpful in medicine field from that time till now.

Surgery before Anesthesia

Surgical procedures were always a painful process prior to the invention of anesthesia. Patients’ skin and internal body parts were opened crudely with full exposure to pain (Dorin 4). However, medical experts worked to find ways to divert patient’s concentration way from the pain. As early as early 17th century, doctors started using opium and other alcohol laced drinks to divert patient’s attention from the surgical pain. It is worth noting that surgery operations were almost the last resort to help a patient. Before the surgery procedures, other medical inventions were tried so as to help patients recover without having to face surgery. Dr. William Morton operated his tooth removal exercises by aid of Opium (Sullivan 9). Such alcoholic substances were to keep the patients drunk so as to keep their concentration away from the pain during surgical procedures. Other doctors dealing with internal body operations and surgeries also tried nitrogen Oxides to sedate and tranquilize their patients but the pain was still significant. It is sad that some patients even died as a result of excessive pains during the surgery procedures.

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Dr. William Morton’s version of Anesthesia

Dr. Morton started his studies in dental medicine in 1840 and later started practice in 1842 with his associate Mr. Horace (Markel 3). His tooth removal procedures could only be sedated with alcohol and opium. William also ventured into establishing how to sooth the pains using nitrogen oxide but found no success. Morton however continued his investigations on anesthesia even after the end of his enterprise with Mr. Wells. In one of his chemistry classes in Harvard medical school, Dr. Morton learnt that sulfuric solvent could make a person lose consciousness (Markel 2). Later in his research, Dr. Morton tried to expose himself to this organic solvent to check its safety on human beings. Later, he started using ether in his tooth extraction operations. The addition of this organic solvent to Dr. William’s operations resulted into instant success. Many people came into his offices t have their tooth removed. The success in pain relief was so amazing and unbelievable. Finally, patients could have their tooth removed without pain. This was indeed great; a frozen limit had truly been reached.

The determined Williams realized that ether could offer more help in the field of medicine than just in tooth procedures. Letheon became the name of his discovered drug after the Greek river which was known to erase painful memories (Science Museum 2). Dr. William Morton later gave an illustration of how the drug could work in Massachusetts hospital hence getting an international recognition. Following the discovery of ether as an anesthesia substance by Dr. William, a lot of excitement was in the air. People could not be operated without pain. Dr. William pursued patent for his discovery so that he could protect its ownership.

Events after the discovery of ether

Dr. William’s discovery came with excitement and pain so much so that he could have been better off practicing dentistry that engage in patent issues. His former associate known as Horace demanded to be included in the ownership document while at the same time; Professor Jackson also wanted recognition for the invention. Mr. Crowford Long also claimed that he had discovered the use of ether in the treatment patients but was busy to publish his findings. It is interesting that many doctors ventured into the actualization of ether as an anesthesia agent after Dr. William’s discovery. Horace and Long also put the ether to practice in surgery procedures but failed in knowing how much was enough in a procedure. Dr. William is the only person who was able to establish a system of administering ether to patients in a controlled set up. In Dr. William’s set up, he could expose patients to ether fumes in a regulated procedure and stop then start again (Markel 5). As a result of his system, patients could remain unconscious for as long as the operation was on. Dr. William’s discovery was later explored and used to develop better anesthesia drugs.


William Morton’s discovery of Anesthesia brought a great relief to patients who had to endure long hours of pain on the operating table. This success in anesthesia medicine is what the paper has considered as a frozen limit in history. Dr. William Morton succeeded in putting his dental patients under the ether fumes to help make them unconscious during the extraction procedure. The success of this procedure helped doctors conducting other surgeries to keep patients unconscious. This discovery by Dr. William was vital in the development of anesthesia in medical surgery.


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