TIL Dr. James Simpson, who first showed the effects of chloroform on humans in 1847. He sat with his assistants nightly trying chemicals. After they collapsed and came to after using chloroform, he recognized its anesthetic potential. He nicknamed the first baby delivered by chloroform “Anesthesia.”

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Young_Simpson#Obstetric_anaesthesia

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  1. >Dr Simpson and two of his assistants, Dr George Skene Keith (1819-1910) and James Matthews Duncan (1826-1890), used to sit every evening in Dr Simpson’s dining room to try new chemicals to see if they had any anaesthetic effect. [….] On 4 November 1847, Simpson and his friends decided to try chloroform themselves, which Simpson had obtained from local pharmacist William Flockhart of Duncan and Flockhart of North Bridge, Edinburgh. On inhaling the chemical they found that a general mood of cheer and humour had set in, but suddenly all of them collapsed only to regain consciousness the next morning. Simpson knew, as soon as he woke up, that he had found something that could be used as an anaesthetic. They soon had Miss Petrie, Simpson’s niece, try it. She fell asleep soon after inhaling it while singing the words, “I am an angel!”.

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    >It was much by chance that Simpson survived the chloroform dosage he administered to himself. If he had inhaled too much and died, chloroform would have been seen as a dangerous substance, which in fact it is. Conversely, if Simpson had inhaled slightly less it would not have put him to sleep.

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