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Wells unsuccessful anaesthesia experiment

Wells unsuccessful anaesthesia experiment

H423/0177

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Horace Wells' anaesthesia demonstration. Engraving of the American dentist Horace Wells (1815-1848) during his unsuccessful demonstration of anaesthesia in 1845. Wells (centre left) had seen the effects of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) during a performance by a visiting showman. He noticed how the subjects fell about but did not seem to feel any pain from their bumps and bangs. He organised a demonstration at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. The volunteer (lower left) yelped when his tooth was extracted thus undermining the demonstration. However, the volunteer later claimed he felt nothing. Wells was ruined and committed suicide three years later.

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