Portrait of Sir James Simpson

Portrait of Sir James Simpson


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Portrait after a lithograph of Sir James Simpson (1811-70), Scottish obstetrician and pioneer of the use of anaesthetics in childbirth. Simpson obtained his MD at Edinburgh in 1832, becoming professor of midwifery in 1839. On hearing of Liston's use of ether for surgery, Simpson went to London to learn more. On 19 January 1847 he used ether to assist a patient during a difficult childbirth with complete success. He later tried chloroform; in November 1847 he published his pamplet "Account of a New Anaesthetic Agent", arousing much controversy. This was settled when Queen Victoria used chloroform during the birth of her eighth child. Simpson was knighted in 1866.

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