Sir James Young Simpson and Chloroform (1811-1870)
James Young Simpson (1811-1870) attended the University of Edinburgh from the age of only 14, graduating in 1832. He was appointed to a Chair of Midwifery at the same institution in 1840, quickly establishing the position of this subject as a popular and essential part of medical education. He was a pioneer in the use of anaesthetics, particularly chloroform, developing its use in surgery and midwifery. He introduced ether (which had been developed as an anaesthetic in the USA) to United Kingdom obstetric practice on January 19, 1847, but in a search for something better, Simpson tried different anaesthetic agents with his colleagues by inhaling their vapors around the dinner table at his home. He subsequently introduced chloroform on November 8 1847. He championed the use of chloroform against medical, moral and religious opposition. It was not until Queen Victoria used this anaesthetic during the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold, in1853 that its use became generally accepted. In 1866 Simpson became the first person to be knighted for services to medicine.
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BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD 181I1825
STUDENT DAYS 18251830
FURTHER STUDIES 183O1835
EARLY PRACTICE AND PROFESSORSHIP
PROFESSOR AND PHYSICIAN 184O1847
THE DISCOVERY OF ANESTHETICS 1844
THE FIGHT FOR ANESTHESIA 1847
HOME LIFE CONTROVERSIES
FURTHER REFORMS HONOURS
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