Anesthetics for pain

In 19th century there were discoveries of a few types of anaesthetics that would help reduce pain for patients during surgery. In 1842 Crawford W Long used ether as an anaesthetic while operating a tumour from the  neck. Later on there were trials for removing a tooth painlessly using laughing gas. Eventualy, James Simpson discovered chloroform in 1847. But there were a huge gap of dicovering the anaesthtic 'Cocaine' it was used as a local anaesthetic.

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Infection - antiseptics

Ignaz Semmelweiss was concern about the death in his maternity ward leaving him to investigate and find the solution to the problem. He cut the death rate by making doctors wash their hands in calcium chloride solution before treating patients.During 1854 Florence Nihgtingale influence the standards of hospital cleanliness and nursing care which quickly rose rapidly over time. However Joseph Lister also cut the death rate among his patients form 46 to 15 per cent by basing his ideas to Pasteur's Germ Theory and sprayed all instruments and bandages of carbolic acid.

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Blood loss and transfusions

In 1901 Karl Landsteiner discovered blood groups and transusions usually killed patients because of the clotting by matching the wrong blood groups together. 10 years after that Richard Lewishn discovered sodium citrate which stops blood clotting during an operation.

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Causes for improvements in Surgery

Over a period of time numbers of operations grew hugely through out the century, and surgeons became skilled at internal operations and even trien (unsuccessfully) to transplant organs such as thyroid glands and testicles. In 1880: the first appendectomy, 1896: first open heart surgery.

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The industrial revolution / inventions

  • Wilhelm Roentgen discovered x-rays and this helped in internal surgery
  • public demonstrations (eg of anaesthesia) allowed knowledge of new procedures to spread
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Scientific knowledge

  • Humphrey Davy was the first scientist to discovered that laughing gas was an anaesthetic hwne working on the properties of gases in 1800
  • Joseph Lister published his findings in 'The Lancet', and lectured in King's College London
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Social factors

  • Queen Victoria gave birth to her children using anaesthetic; which was after the general public's fear of under going surgery/operation using anaesthetic and cause death and infection. Edward VII's appendectomy helped reduce fear of operaions.  
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  • the needs of army surgeons treating soldiers injured in battle (requiring amputations) stimulated advance
  •  the Crimean War led to the development of nursing (Florence Nightingale at Scutari)
  • WW1 led directly to the development of the National Blood Transfusion Service
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