World Anesthesia Day – a tribute to the benefits of painless medicine
Anesthesia is one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine and has completely revolutionized the quality of healthcare that patients can receive. In fact, it’s almost impossible to imagine healthcare without the application of anesthesia.
Anesthesia is so special that it has its own day, World Anesthesia Day, on October 16th to celebrate its invention and the discipline of its use. In honor of World Anesthesia Day, we want to take a look back at the key events in the history of anesthesia, showing just how far modern medicine has advanced.
Anesthesia: A Historical Timeline
It may come as a surprise, but the first attempts at using an anesthetic go all the way back to 4000 BCE when historians believe Sumerians used opium poppy as a form of anesthesia. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that anesthesia as we know it today saw its first use.
In 1842, William Clarke was the first to etherize a patient for a dental extraction. Three years later Dr. Horace Wells inhaled nitrous oxide for his own dental extraction for the first time.
In 1846, a dentist named William T. G. Morton was the first in the world to publicly demonstrate the use of ether anesthesia for surgery. Morton performed a painless surgery removing a tumor from a man’s neck. Before this public demonstration in Boston, Morton had tested his use of anesthesia on his dog and an on a young man for a tooth extraction.
The demonstrated surgery was a success, as the patient had no sense of pain throughout the procedure. This marked a monumental event in the history of anesthesia and its field of study exploded with interest.
In 1942, Drs. Enid Johnson and Harold Griffith introduced the first successful anesthetic application of the muscle relaxant curare. Two years later, lidocaine is introduced as a local anesthetic in a clinical setting.
In 1956, the first clinical use of halothane as a general anesthetic was introduced. This event marked the first use of a modern brominated general anesthetic. Since then, innovation in the field of anesthesia and pain management has continued to evolve.
The Contribution of Anesthesia
Today every single person benefits from painless surgeries and medical procedures, thanks to the remarkable discoveries in the field of anesthesia dating all the way back to 4000 BCE. Although the chemicals used as an anesthetic have significantly changed, many of the modern applications such as nitrous oxide and intravenous anesthetic are a result of discoveries in the 1600s and 1700s.
Now patients have several anesthetic options, from gas to IV, accommodating any kind of procedure they require. Anesthetic application is one of the most valuable components of modern healthcare and continues to be one of the leading interests in the medical field.
World Anesthesia Day
A notable date in the history of anesthesia that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves is May 25, 2000 — the very first National Anesthesia Day in Great Britain, which eventually led to the World Anesthesia Day we now celebrate in October 16th.
Originally known as “Ether Day,” World Anesthesia Day honors the first successful demonstration of ether anesthesia by William Morton on October 16, 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Morton is considered by many as the founder of modern anesthesia, as the entire field of anesthesia as we know it, including education and training of anesthetics, is a direct result of Morton’s demonstration.
Elcam communicating with nurse anesthetists at AANA
Elcam sees conferences such as the AANA event that recently took place in September 11-13th, 2016 in Washington DC as a great opportunity to celebrate the great work done by CRNAs and to communicate with the actual people who use our products first hand. With nurse anesthetists using more and more IV products for their work, it was important to us to attend this conference to obtain direct feedback for our products and Elcam sent a large delegation to the show. In an attendee survey we ran, we learned that there is still not enough awareness to the potential of using Luer Activated Valves (LAV) during anesthesia procedures and only 20% use it.
We were happy to see the benefits of using closed stopcocks presented in various posters at the event, supporting the Elcam message. The posters stressed the need to flush after administrating anesthetic substances and discussed how to reduce bacterial contamination from stopcock use and reduction of anesthesia workspace contamination. Attendees who came to our booth liked the product and the fact that Marvelous stopcock is integrated to the IV line. In fact, many said this product could be useful for A-lines as well. Nurses seemed to really like the self-flushing benefit and could see how it could save them an extra step while ensuring it is automatically performed.
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