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Operations Without Pain: The Practice and Science of Anaesthesia in Victorian Britain
 
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Operations Without Pain: The Practice and Science of Anaesthesia in Victorian Britain
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
16 Dec 2005
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£74.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9781403934451
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

The introduction of anaesthesia to Victorian Britain marked a defining moment between modern medicine and earlier practices. But although the benefits of surgical pain relief were indisputable, the process was in some ways strangely pradoxical. Inhaling gas brought patients to the verges of death to save them the agony of surgery. In the operating theatre surgeons were accustomed to terrified patients but not to the newly insensible body which still breathed and might struggle in a way that inhibited surgery. Throughout the late 1840s and 1850s debates focused on the viability of anaesthesia - were its risks greater than its benefits? That issue is the heart of this book; it continued to be debated whilst patients and doctors grappled with the realities of painless surgery, the exhilaration of ether, the efficacy of chloroform - not just to remove pain, but to kill. By examining complex patterns of innovation, reversals, debate and geographical difference, Stephanie Snow shows how anaesthesia became established as a routine part of British medicine.


Description

The introduction of anaesthesia to Victorian Britain marked a defining moment between modern medicine and earlier practices. But although the benefits of surgical pain relief were indisputable, the process was in some ways strangely pradoxical. Inhaling gas brought patients to the verges of death to save them the agony of surgery. In the operating theatre surgeons were accustomed to terrified patients but not to the newly insensible body which still breathed and might struggle in a way that inhibited surgery. Throughout the late 1840s and 1850s debates focused on the viability of anaesthesia - were its risks greater than its benefits? That issue is the heart of this book; it continued to be debated whilst patients and doctors grappled with the realities of painless surgery, the exhilaration of ether, the efficacy of chloroform - not just to remove pain, but to kill. By examining complex patterns of innovation, reversals, debate and geographical difference, Stephanie Snow shows how anaesthesia became established as a routine part of British medicine.


Reviews

'Snow's prose is lucid and expressive, her theses insightful, her conclusions illuminating and well supported... This book deserves to become both a standard reference work for students of Victorian medicine and a template for future workers in this field.' - Medical History

'Operations without pain is a meticulously written book that also deals largely with historical aspects of pain...she [Stephanie J. Snow] sheds fascinating light on the medical scenes in America and Victorian Britain.' - Brain


Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
From Enlightenment Philosophies to Victorian Reform, 1790-1846
Altered States
Science versus Empiricism
Risks of Life and Birth
Anaesthesia in London: John Snow's Casebooks
In the Name of Safety
Conclusion: The History of Anaesthesia
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index


Authors

STEPHANIE SNOW is a Wellcome Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, UK.