Anesthesia Advances During the Civil War
Journal Article - Open Access
National Museum of Health and Medicine, USAMRMC Silver Spring United States
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The advent of general inhalation anesthesia, in the form of ether 1846 or chloroform 1847, revolutionized medicine for surgeons and patients. Its efficacy in wartime was quickly tested in the Civil War, establishing that painless surgery on the battlefield might be possible. Despite prior, widespread use of ether by American doctors, chloroform became the anesthetic agent of choice by Union and Confederate Army surgeons, due primarily to its nonflammability and the rapidity of its effects ... and from the small quantity required.