SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
First demonstration of general anaesthetic, using ether, artwork. On 16 October 1846 in Boston, USA, William Morton (top left) removed a tumour from the neck of a 20-year-old patient Edward Abbott, who was under general anaesthetic. Although Dr Long had been the first to use ether in this manner, in 1842, he failed to publish his work until 1848, so Morton was credited. Knowledge of the anaesthetic properties of ether appears to have been gained after what medical students referred to as 'ether frolics'. Morton, who it later transpired had no medical qualifications, spent much of his life in attempts to make money from the discovery, but he died bankrupt in 1868 at the age of 49.
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