The Age of Discovery
William Thomas green Morton (1819-1868)Below is an account of a typical pre anaesthetic operation remarks by surgeons and an account of the procedure itself.
We must also be aware of the stress that a surgical procedure put on the surgeons shoulders, here is a quotation from James Millers book of 1848 entitled the Surgical Experience of Chloroform.
A second surgeon took the long, glittering knife, felt for the bone, thrust in the knife carefully but rapidly. The boy screamed terribly; the tears went down the fathers cheeks. The first cut from the inside was completed, and the bloody blade of the knife issued from the quivering wound, the blood flowed by the pint, the sight was sickening; the screams terrific; the operator calm.” 183This is why that surgery was rushed, to get it over as quick as possible so that all parties would suffer less.
Now you might begin to understand the relief that surgeons had when Anaesthesia became known to them and then was proven to relieve the suffering of the patient. With anaesthesia not only was there insensibility to pain from the patient but it relaxed the surgeon, who was now not under pressure to complete the operation as quickly as possible. It also meant that he could be certain of the results.