Before anaesthesia. Used for anesthesia by our ancestors?

Jean Fouquet’s “The Martyrdom Of St. Apollonia”. XV. © /

Public Domain

Drink poison!

Since ancient times, people thought about how to ease the pain. The methods used are quite dangerous. So, in Ancient Greece, as the anesthesia used the Mandrake root is a poisonous plant that can cause hallucinations and severe poisoning, even death. Safer was the use of “carotid sponges”. Marine sponges impregnated with the intoxicating juice of the plant and ignited. Inhalation of fumes lulled patients.

In Ancient Egypt, for pain relief used the Hemlock. Unfortunately, after anesthesia before surgery lived a few. More effective than others was the ancient Indian method of pain relief. On hand at the shaman has always been an excellent remedy – Coca leaves, containing cocaine. Sorcerers of the magic chewing the leaves and spitting on the wounded warriors. The saliva, impregnated with cocaine brings relief of suffering, and shamans fell into drug dependency and better understand the instructions of the gods.

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Evidence of drug use in order to pain relief and Chinese healers. Coca, however, in China not to find, but with hemp no problems. Therefore, the analgesic effects of marijuana have experienced more than one generation of patients, local healers.

To the loss of pulse

In medieval Europe the methods of anesthesia also did not differ humanity. For example, before surgery a patient is often just beaten on the head with a mallet, so that he lost consciousness. This method demanded that the “anesthesiologist” considerable skill is needed to calculate the shot so that the patient lost his senses, but not life.

Bloodletting was also quite popular with the doctors then. The patient opened the vein and waited until he loses enough blood to faint.

As such, the anesthesia was very dangerous, he eventually refused. Of shock patients was saved only by the speed of the surgeon. For example, we know that the great Nikolai Pirogov spent on amputation and 4 minutes and the mammary glands were removed and a half.

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Laughing gas

Science does not stand still, and over time, there are other methods of analgesia, such as nitrous oxide, which immediately dubbed laughing gas. However, original the nitrous oxide used are not doctors, and wandering circus performers. In 1844 the magician Gardner Colton was called on the scene, the volunteer tent and let him breathe the magic gas. The participants laughed rated so fell off the stage and broke his leg. However, the audience noticed that the victim feels no pain, since it is under anesthesia. Among those who sat in the hall, was dentist Horace wells, who immediately appreciated the remarkable properties of gas and bought the invention from the magician.

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A year later, Wales decided to demonstrate his invention to the public and gave a demonstration of tooth extraction. Unfortunately, the patient, despite the fact that inhaled laughing gas, shouted for the entire operation. The audience to look at a new painkiller has raised wells to laugh, and his reputation came to an end. Only a few years later it turned out that the patient screamed not from pain, but because it was terrified of dentists.

Among those who attended the unsuccessful performance of wells, another dentist , William Morton, who decided to continue the work of his hapless colleagues. Morton soon found out that the medical air is much safer and more effective than laughing gas. And already in 1846, Morton and surgeon John Warren had surgery to remove vascular tumors, using ether as anesthesia.

And again, Coca

Medical air was all good, except that he was given a General anesthesia, and the doctors thought more about how to obtain a local anaesthetic. Then their eyes turned to the most ancient drugs – cocaine. In those days cocaine was found very wide application. They treat depression, asthma and indigestion. In those years the drug was sold freely in any pharmacy along with the cold remedies and ointments from back pain.

In 1879, Russian physician Basil Anrep published an article on the effects of cocaine on nerve endings. Anrep experimented on himself, introducing under the skin a weak solution of the drug, and found that it leads to the loss of sensitivity at the injection site.

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First, who decided to try out the calculations Anrep on patients, was the ophthalmologist Carl Koller. His method of local anesthesia was appreciated – and the triumph of the cocaine lasted for several decades. Only over time doctors began to pay attention to the side effects of the miracle drug, cocaine was banned. The Collier was so impressed with the harmful effect that ashamed to mention this discovery in his autobiography.

And only in the XX century, scientists were able to find a more safer alternative to cocaine, lidocaine, procaine and other agents for local and General anesthesia.

By the way

One in 200 thousand planned operations – this is the probability of dying from anesthesia today. It is comparable to the probability that on your head accidentally drops a brick.

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