Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion

Front Cover
Sutton, Jan 1, 2003 - Medical - 258 pages
2 Reviews
Right up until the 19th century, physicians and philosophers regarded sleep as a state of near-oblivion in which there was no mental activity, a kind of halfway stage between wakefulness and death. For the Victorians, therefore, when anaesthesia was first practised, it was commonly seen as traumatic—for doctors were being asked to induce a condition looked upon as partial death. Viewed with suspicion, many feared that they would never wake again, or that they would lose their faculties on a permanent basis, even become insane. Yet, especially after Queen Victoria allowed its administration to her during childbirth, its use to block out pain became widespread. This engaging and entertaining book traces the social, medical and criminal history of chloroform, from early medical practices to create oblivion through the discovery of chloroform and its discovery, its use and misuse in the 19th century, to the present. Today chloroform is no longer used as an anaesthetic, but has a multitude of uses in industry and medical research, including a role in DNA profiling. A by-product of the chlorination of water, we inhale infinitesimal amounts of chloroform every time we have a shower.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ladycato - LibraryThing

My feelings on this book are mixed. It's not a bad book. It's not even dreadfully dull. But it also felt scattered in its approach and almost dizzying with the number of names it introduces, and didn ... Read full review

Review: Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion

User Review  - Douglas Fyfe - Goodreads

Great read. Excellent science history. Fascinating tales, although some a little oblique to the topic at hand. Would recommend for anyone interested in chemistry, history, and even a bit of detective-like intrigue! Read full review

Contents

Sweet Whiskey
18
Adams Rib
31
Under the Influence
49
Copyright

12 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information