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The Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook

History of Anaesthesia

Last modified 9/11/2014. Comments to: Chris Thompson


Wikipedia has a comprehensive overview of the history of General Anaesthesia. The history of Ether anesthesia is described at the Mass. General site.

There are both US and UK Anaesthesia History Associations, with excellent images and resources. I often visit 'this month in anesthesia history' on the US AHA site.

Sir Robert Macintosh was a New Zealander.

In Australia, see ANZCA's Geoffrey Kaye Museum and the ASA's Harry Daly museum.

Histoire de l'Anesthésie et de la Réaimation is the main French language history site. Wawrsik summarises important German contributions. See also this Dräger PDF.

Paul Wood's Library-Museum of Anesthesiology is excellent.

The UCLA Index of Medieval Medical Images demonstrates how far we've come!

Roger Traill puts a strong case that the 'Triad of Anaesthesia' has been usurped by 'Unrousable Unconsciousness' in his paper "Anaesthesia - a Modern Concept".

Here's a nice overview of the history of anaesthesia from the Medical Coding Career site, and a detailed review of historical opposition to the concept of pain relief for surgery and how these were overcome.

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visitors to this chapter since April 29th 2000.

Original concept for the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook by:
Dr. Chris Thompson
Senior Staff Specialist Anaesthetist
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Sydney Australia