A treatise on the inhalation of the vapour of ether, for the prevention of pain in surgical ... A treatise on the inhalation of the vapour of ether, for the prevention of pain in surgical ...

A treatise on the inhalation of the vapour of ether, for the prevention of pain in surgical operations

Robinson, James

Published by Webster & Co, London, 1847
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Robinson, James (1813-62). A treatise on the inhalation of the vapour of ether, for the prevention of pain in surgical operations . . . [6], 63pp.; lacking half-title. Text illustration. London: Webster & Co., 1847. 203 x 128 mm. Half morocco gilt, marbled boards in period style, all edges gilt. One or two marginal notes in a contemporary hand. Fine copy apart from the missing half-title. First Edition of the First Textbook of Anesthesia, preceding John Snow's On the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether in Surgical Operations by five months. Rare on the market, with no auction records going back to the 19th century. This is the first copy we have handled in our 50+ years in the trade. The first public demonstration of ether anesthesia, as is well known, was made on October 16, 1846 by William T. G. Morton, who administered ether during a surgical operation at Massachusetts General Hospital. Robinson, a prominent British dentist, learned of this momentous event from his friend and neighbor Dr. Francis Boott, who in early December had received a letter from American physician Jacob Bigelow giving an account of "the new anodyne process lately introduced here" (p. 1). Boott and Robinson immediately began conducting their own experiments with ether inhalation, and on December 19, using an inhaler of his own design, Robinson administered ether to a patient before painlessly removing her diseased molar, thus becoming the first in England to use ether as an anesthetic agent. Two days later Robert Liston and William Squire, who had witnessed Robinson's demonstrations of ether anesthesia, conducted the first major surgical operation performed under ether in Britain, amputating a man's leg at what is now University College Hospital in London. Within a few weeks ether anesthesia became generally accepted in Britain, with Robinson playing a prominent role in assuring its success. Armed with an improved version of his inhaler (illustrated on p. 17 of the Treatise), "Robinson became adept at giving ether for dentistry and for more prolonged surgical operations. He demonstrated ether anesthesia to hundreds of medical and lay onlookers at his own practice, and a number of London's leading hospitals . . . [being] called in to anesthetize patients when the attempts of others had failed. By so doing he was able to dispel the doubts about ether's efficacy" (Ellis, p. x). In early 1847, seven weeks after performing his initial etherization, Robinson published his Treatise on the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether, the world's first anesthesia textbook. "The introduction consists of Boott's famous letters to The Lancet [of December 21, 1846] announcing the discovery of anesthesia. There follow sixteen pages of original text to which are appended 38 pages of case reports . . . The sixteen pages of original text comprise the only lengthy account of the earliest days of anesthesia in Britain to be written at the time when the events described were actually happening by one of those who was most closely involved. They merit the closest study" (Ellis, p. x). Ellis, "Preface to the facsimile edition," in Robinson, A Treatise on the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether (1983), pp. vii-xi. Fulton and Stanton, Centennial of Anesthesia, 130. Garrison-Morton.com 5657.1. Bookseller Inventory # 44202

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A treatise on the inhalation of the vapour ...

Publisher: Webster & Co, London

Publication Date: 1847

Binding: Hardcover

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