Simpson researching anaesthetics, 1840s

Simpson researching anaesthetics, 1840s

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870), Scottish doctor. This historical artwork shows Simpson's butler walking in on Simpson, who is suffering from the effects of a recent experiment. Simpson was passionate about alleviating pain, and always experimented with new anaesthetic agents, often on himself. He was the first person to use ether during childbirth on 19th January 1847 and in November 1847 he discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform. Opponents claimed that a painful labour was a biological and religious necessity, but the clamour died down in 1853 after Queen Victoria used chloroform during childbirth.

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