Recollections of Surgery before the Use of Anesthetics

1897 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
the restraining power of strong and experienced men, and groaned, to the horror of the terrified household ; and afterwards, to the day of her death, could not think of the operation without convulsive shudders. Often did she hold up her bauds, exclaiming, "Oh, that knife ! that awful knife ! ! that horrible knife ! ! ! " liven on her death-bed, to which she was brought years later by another and entirely different malady, she more than once raised her wasted and enfeebled hands and faintly
more » ... nds and faintly gasped the same words. From one case learn the whole story : they were all alike, full of dreaded horrors to patients, and not without terrors to operators. The ether discovery is the discovery in medicinenothing like it before or since, and probably never will be. But it is fast becoming a thing of the " old time," and ¡B now already out of the hall-century, asserted to be so exclusively filled with all the good things. Of course, anesthesia is the " great thing " of the age, or of any age ; its benefits, however, should deter us from needlessly underrating and smiling at the shortcomings of our forefathers, lest we be laughed at for our own unbounded pretensions by those who shall come after us, and that, too, within less than another fifty years? 1Read before the Clinical Meeting of the Staff of the Massachusetts General Hospital, December 1, 1896. likely to be achieved. Three methods were resorted to iu pre-anosthetic days to obviate muscular resistance. These were, first, bleeding ad deliqium ; second, the use of t art rat e of antimony ; and, last, the use of tobacco as a rectal injection. These were used to the extent of producing a depression and relaxation of all
doi:10.1056/nejm189701071360102 fatcat:xhacb5qqzra5ddw4s2f7k3pcgy