James Simpson, Scottish physician

James Simpson, Scottish physician

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: James Simpson (1811-1870). 1874 illustration of the Scottish physician and obstetrician Sir James Young Simpson, 1st Baronet. Simpson was the first person to use anaesthetics on women giving birth. He first used ether during a difficult labour on 19th January 1847. In November 1847 he began using chloroform instead of ether. Simpson published a pamphlet, 'Account of a New Anaesthetic Agent' (1847), but opponents claimed that painful labour was a biological and religious necessity. In 1853, Queen Victoria used chloroform during childbirth. Simpson was made a baronet in 1866.

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