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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094

Abstract

VALE, Nilton Bezerra do; DELFINO, José  and  VALE, Lúcio Flávio Bezerra do. Serendipity in medicine and anesthesiology. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2005, vol.55, n.2, pp. 224-249. ISSN 0034-7094.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942005000200010.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study has evaluated more than a hundred of the most fortunate couplings of a brilliant mind with fortunate luck (serendipity), through the re-reading of most relevant histories on science-related (n = 46) and anesthesiology-related (n = 16) inventions and discoveries. CONTENTS: This educational article encourages anesthesiologists to appreciate events related to scientific inventions and discoveries, showing that serendipity is possible, provided it is expected. Each discovery or invention includes history, references and scientific or anecdotal explanation. In addition to traditional discoveries, such as wine, gravity, photograph, Velcro, airbag, etc., there are other Medicine-related (microscope, X-rays, vaccine, penicillin, insulin, laser, Paps smear, etc.) and Anesthesiology-related (isometry, gloves, N2O, ether, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, blood patch, etc.) discoveries. Creativity and serendipity may act as cornerstones for clinical and basic research of pioneer inventions for medical and anesthesiologic advances. In fact, topics related to biology, anatomy, physics, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, astronomy and archeology should be master and … lots of luck. CONCLUSIONS: Although research and operating room accidents are regrettable, some of them happen and may sometimes lead to spectacular advances, such as heroic treatments and even Nobel Prizes. Open-mindedness is a common trait to those willing to count on grand prize, as American physicist Henry would state (1842): "Seeds of discovery are constantly floating around us, but the onlytake roots in minds well prepared to receive them".

Keywords : ANESTHESIA [General]; ANESTHESIA [Local]; MEDICINE [history]; SERENDIPITY.

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