William T.G. Morton

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William Thomas Green Morton (August 9, 1819 - July 15, 1868) was responsible for the first successful public demonstration of ether as an inhalation anesthetic. Many consider him to be the "inventor and revealer" of anesthesia. However, he was not the first person to use ether for surgical anesthesia, Crawford Williamson Long was. Morton's accomplishment was the key factor to the medical and scientific pursuit that we now refer to as anesthesiology.

William Morton was originally a dentist. He studied under Horace Wells in Hartford, Connecticut. The two later became a partners. Morton decided to leave the dentistry profession to study medicine at Harvard.

On September 30th, 1846, Morton performed a painless tooth extraction after administering ether to a patient. This procedure lead to an arrangement of a now famous demonstration on October 16th, 1846, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. At this demonstration Dr. J. C. Warren painlessly removed a tumor from the neck of a Mr. Abbott. Following the demonstration Morton tried to hide the identity of the substance Abbott had inhaled (ether). He referred to it as "Letheon." He had intentions to patent the substance and profit from its use. However, the “letheon” was quickly shown to be ether, and it was soon after being used in both the U.S. and Europe. Morton was never successful in patenting ether.de:William Thomas Green Morton

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