Annual General Meeting + 'Life's a Gas' - The History of Anaesthesia

At our February meeting the members were truly entertained and informed of the history of aesthetics by Dr. David Nunn, an enthusiastic anaesthetist at the N &N Hospital. His talk illustrated with slides was very informative and amusing in his presentation starting with the statistics that the risk of dying during anaesthesia was 1 in 850,000 as to a road accident 1 in 16,000 
The first known methods of any kind was in the 18th Century involving amputations  which were carried out by barber surgeons taking about a minute and a half. Today they take about an hour and a half. The red & white poles outside barber shops today indicating blood and bandages. Alcohol was one way with something to bite on. Venom from stingrays or a clamp to stop the blood flowing.  From 1835 various drugs became available from poppies (opium), Mandrake roots and cocaine. 
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) mixed with air used with mothers giving birth. Ether came about but  was highly flammable and  could be dangerous if overdosed. Operations were carried out by amateurs with very little skill so since 1835 a qualified practitioner must be present at all operations.
Today with modern local anaesthetics which we all accept are used extensively by doctors and dentists makes for easy operations and have very little after effects. 
In operations for replacement hips etc. spinal epidurals are used along with oxygen and pain killing drugs. We are in safe hands with the expertise of anaesthetists. 
Barry  Leggett


United Kingdom
Thursday, 21 February, 2019 - 19:30
Dr David Nunn