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ANESTHESIA: BELIEVE IT OR NOT

The Crimea War saw the advent of routine use of anesthesia in surgery.

Russia as well as the Allies (France, England, and Turkey) were somewhat reluctant to use chloroform because of frequent overdosing. Sometimes the nearly dead man could be brought back to consciousness by shouting his name into his ear and then giving him a large drink of wine. Alcohol (booze) was thought to combat shock and was still routinely used for that purpose in the U.S. Civil War.

Eventually Russia’s supplies of chloroform ran low, and when one patient cried out as surgeons began to cut into his leg without the use of anesthesia, a Russian surgeon punched him in the face.

At least one French soldier refused chloroform when his arm was amputated because he wanted to watch.

Antique Bone Saw circa 1850

Bone Saw circa 1850