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James Young Simpson

James Young Simpson

C009/3206

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Credit

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Color enhanced illustration of James Simpson (1811-1870), Scottish physician. Simpson, who later called himself James Young Simpson, was the first person to use anesthetics on women giving birth. He first used ether during a difficult labor on 19 January 1847. In November 1847 he began using chloroform to avoid carrying around heavy bottles of ether. Simpson published a controversial pamphlet, Account of a New Anesthetic Agent (1847). Opponents claimed that painful labor was a biological and religious necessity. The clamor died down in 1853 after Queen Victoria used chloroform during childbirth. This led to his being knighted, the first person to be so honored for services to medicine.

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