William Morton first demonstrates the use of ether anesthesia

In 1846 the dentist William T Morton first publicly demonstrated the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic at the Massachusetts General Hospital. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon famously said: “Gentlemen, this is no humbug.” Very soon anesthesia became universally used in surgery.

The first use of ether in dental surgery, 1846. Oil painting by Ernest Board. c. 1912. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0)



Spring 2020  |  Sections  |  Surgery