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William Morton, American surgeon; 1st anaesthetist

William Morton, American surgeon; 1st anaesthetist

H413/0139

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

William Morton. Portrait of William Thomas Green Morton (1819-68), American dental surgeon and pioneer anaesthetist. Morton used ether gas and first publicly demonstrated its use on 16 October 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital. The operation, performed by J.C. Warren, was a successful removal of a neck tumour. Morton tried unsuccessfully to patent his discovery. He also faced bitter disputes with Horace Wells, Crawford Long and Samuel Jackson. Wells and Long had previously used anaesthetic privately, Jackson had advised Morton on ether's suitability. The strain was too much for Morton and he eventually died from a stress-induced stroke.

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