Crawford Long, regarded as the ‘The father of the anesthesia’, unfortunately did not receive official credit for his amazing work in the field of anesthesia. It was only a year after his death that he gained recognition.
Long attended many ‘laughing gas’ parties and ‘ether frolics’ while he was still in medical school. It was there that he realized that people did not feel any pain when they were under the influence of nitrous oxide(commonly known as laughing gas) or ether.
Long went on to use sulphuric ether as an anesthetic while practicing in Jefferson, Georgia. He used it for the first time on March 30, 1842 while operating on a tumour in the neck of a patient. He knew that his experiment was successful when the young man claimed that he did not feel anything and was surprised that the tumour had been removed!
Long soon began to use ether during childbirth but he did not publish his findings. It was in 1846 when an American dentist William Morton claimed to use ether as an anesthetic that Long started to record his findings. He submitted his findings to the medical college of Georgia in 1849. Horace Wells and Charles Jackson were doctors who also claimed to use ether as an anesthetic in the same year. Long’s findings were finally published in 1849.
Ironically, Long was unsuccessful in claiming the credit for the discovery of ether as an anesthetic while he was alive even though his work is highly respected worldwide today.