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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094

Abstract

REIS JUNIOR, Almiro dos. The first to use surgical anesthesia was not a dentist, but the physician Crawford Williamson Long. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2006, vol.56, n.3, pp. 304-324. ISSN 0034-7094.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942006000300010.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The history of the discovery of anesthesia is not totally explained, but it is easy to establish that Crawford Williamson Long was the first to use sulfuric ether to operate several patients with no pain and to perform obstetric procedures. History is a bridge connecting the past to the present and should be studied and understood from its first pillars. So, it is justifiable to recall or get to know who was Long, certainly a name almost unknown for many of us, and which has been his participation in the discovery of anesthesia. CONTENTS: Why and how Crawford Williamson Long became the first physician to operate with no pain four and a half years before Morton are discussed, in addition to the role he played in one of the major Medical discoveries. Long's biography is narrated, stressing his character, competence, dedication, modesty, altruism and a certain unconcern with conquests and glories. Circumstances leading him not to immediately publicize his discovery are described. Long's involvement in the discussion about the discoverer of anesthesia is analyzed and his passing away is reported. Finally, numerous honors to Long by the USA and other countries are described. CONCLUSIONS: W.T.G. Morton is often considered the discoverer of general anesthesia, especially for being the first to make a successful public demonstration in a major hospital in Boston (USA). However, it has been proven that Long has been the first to use surgical anesthesia and he is acknowledged in several regions of his country as the father of surgical anesthesia and "its discoverer". It is also necessary to revert the fact that Long is almost unknown among us and give him the place he is entitled to in the history of general anesthesia.

Keywords : ANESTHESIA, General [inhalational]; ANESTHESIOLOGY [history].

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