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The First Pediatric Operation Performed under Anesthesia

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A number of articles and chapters in the pediatric anesthesia credit the first use of ether anesthesia to Crawford Long in an operation performed on an 8-year-old male slave. However, Long never gave the ages of any of his patients in any of his letters, articles, or communications. The 1840 and 1850 federal censuses give ages but no names for male slaves, two of whom are candidate patients. One possible age for the first was 22 years. The second was younger than 15 years and was identified as a child by a student working with Long. Thus, the date of the first pediatric anesthetic where documentation is reasonably certain is January 8, 1845, given the limitations in the use of slave censuses. After the Ether Dome demonstration in 1846, ether anesthesia for children was rapidly adopted in Boston and London.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, The Mercer University School of Medicine and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon, Georgia, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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