• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How significant was James Simpsons role in solving the problem of surgery during the 19th century?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

02 March 2010 How significant was James Simpson's role in solving the problem of surgery during the 19th century? During the 19th century, there were many attempts to perform surgery without there being any risk towards the patient. This usually meant that the surgeons had to overcome problems of pain, infection and blood loss which were the three main ways in which patients died during surgery. Many individuals discovered methods to make surgery safer. One of these men was a Scottish doctor, by the name of James Simpson, who discovered the anesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for general medical use. Of course, there were other individuals who had used different varieties of anaesthetics before James Simpson. In 1799 Sir Humphrey Davy discovered laughing gas which reduced pain felt by patients. It was mostly used by dentists during teeth extractions, which caused excruciating pain. In 1846, J.R Lister used 'ether' as an anaesthetic so the patient would be unconscious during operation. However this was soon dismissed as it irritated the lungs and caused the patient to cough during the operation as well as the fact that ether is highly flammable. ...read more.

Middle

This scared the many surgeons into not using it. There were also other who opposed chloroform because they believed that easing the pain of childbirth, it would make it unnatural and was an act against God. In addition to this, whilst the patient is unconscious surgeons became more confident and attempt more complex operations allowing infections deeper into the body and causing more blood loss. This also contributed to the rise in number of deaths since the introduction of chloroform. Yet, James Simpson soon got many people to realise that his theory was accurate and it was soon accepted. When Queen Victoria used chloroform when delivering her eighth child in 1857, the public along with many other surgeons began using it as an anaesthetic and this soon became a part of surgical practise. However although James Simpson had already tried the anaesthetic on himself, it almost immediately became clear that there were very serious side effects associated with its use and it was known to cause death in a number of instances. From 1864, numerous studies were conducted in an attempt to determine whether chloroform affected the respiratory system or the circulatory system. ...read more.

Conclusion

He personally administered chloroform to Queen Victoria when she gave birth to the last two of her nine children, leading to wider public acceptance of obstetric anaesthesia. The fact that there were many other individuals who were able to discover other vital things prevents James Simpson from solely being responsible for solving the problems of surgery. John Snow also proves that James Simpson was not the first to come up with the idea of 'anaesthetics', and therefore cannot really be responsible for the discovery although he played a major role in coming across chloroform. In conclusion, I believe that James Simpson's role was not very significant in the attempts to solve the problems of surgery. This is because he was able to use other people's ideas, such as John Snow, to actually discover the anaesthetic. In addition to this, there were many other individuals and factors such as War and Technology that would have impacted surgery on a bigger scale than that of James Simpson's discovery of chloroform as an anaesthetic. Although we can see his dedication in proving that chloroform was a suitable anaesthetic we can also see that there was a lot of scope for other individuals to find an anaesthetic that may have proved to be less fatal. ?? ?? ?? ?? Thamanya Kugathasan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Jack The Ripper - Law and Order in the late 19th century

    Poor methods were employed such as decoys (policemen dressed as women). In conclusion I believe that although the police were developing over the course of the century, were well behind with the needs of the population, and was inexperienced in dealing with a range of different crime situations, and it

  2. Why did medical care need to be improved during the early 19th century

    a Hospital, but in a private home, because hospitals had beds closely packed together, they're were certainly not four poster beds, and covers were thin. So although we get the impression that the man is rich and is in his own home, it does not mean that he is getting the best after care.

  1. The interior of the Apprentice House today bears very little resemblance to what it ...

    The quilts and pillows were filled with straw. Straw was also kept in the room, as were bedpans, the girls would have probably, according to the Guide, would have been locked in. Also, hanging from the ceiling are various Herbs.

  2. History of Medicine Revision Notes.

    due to the development of the steam pump! Pasteur?s Germ Theory:[bl] Joseph Lister did research on Pasteur?s germ theory in 1864, which stated that germs were the CAUSE OF DISEASE. ? it led Joseph Lister to realise that people were dying from infection because of germs. Why was Antiseptics Opposed?

  1. THE BIGGEST BREAKTHROUGH IN PUBLIC HEALTH IN BRITAIN TOOK PLACE IN THE 19TH NOT ...

    One of the most important was the Public Health Act 1875. This made it compulsory for local councils to improve sewers and drainage, provide fresh water supplies and to appoint medical Officers and sanitary inspectors to inspect public health facilities.

  2. Revision notes - US History. Major events and personalities of the early ...

    Monroe Doctrine: Who: John Quincy Adams, US, Britain, and Monroe What: President?s message to congress asserting non-colonization & non-intervention Where: US When: 1823 Why: To ward Europeans off about expansion Significance: Monroe was only concerned about safety of US, not the new Latin American republics Point of Interest: Merely a

  1. History of plastic surgery; how plastic surgery became a usual thing in Korea

    To make a stronger point, there has been a report form the Daily magazine in Korea in 2006 that many plastic surgeons are gaining annual increases of 26% or more in the number of the number of clients. (Including both the number of foreign clients and local clients.

  2. Were the 1980 Hunger Strikes the most significant IRA event of that decade?

    The Republican movement gained enormously in the number of people who joined.? This quote suggests that Sinn Fein used the death of Bobby Sands to great effect, even thought he did stand as an independent candidate. This then led to Sinn Fein becoming a mainstream political party.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work