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J Hist Dent. 2008 Spring;56(1):38-43.

Who deserves the credit for discovering ether's use as a surgical anesthetic?

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  • 1OHSU School of Dentistry, USA.


This paper discusses the controversy based around the discovery of inhalation anesthesia. Although many contributors claim to be the discoverer, deeper research into the events leading to anesthesia can award credit to a select few. It can be determined that anesthesia in animals was discovered by Paracelsus back in the fifteenth century and that the first person to demonstrate ether's use as a surgical anesthetic was Dr. William Morton in 1846.

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