The most interesting events in the history of anesthesia at Patrick Sim Forum

  • WLN Patrick Sim Forum on the History of Anesthesiology: What Is the Most Interesting Event in the History of Anesthesia? (SPE21)
  • 2-4 p.m. Monday
  • BCEC Room 206AB

Boston has an important place in the history of anesthesia, featuring memorials such as the Ether Dome and Ether Monument. That makes it an appropriate site for Monday’s Patrick Sim Forum to ask the question, “What is the most interesting event in the history of anesthesia?”

Three speakers will provide their answers when they examine the Anesthesia Travel Club, the use of anesthesia in Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camps during WWII and the effectiveness of the first anesthetic.

David Waisel, M.D.

“We asked three of the foremost anesthesia historians from around the world to discuss what they think was the most interesting event in the history of anesthesia,” said David Waisel, M.D., forum moderator. “The ability of these international historians to choose their topics brings their academic, social and personal perspectives to the forefront.”

Douglas Richard Bacon, M.D., M.A., will present “December 16, 1929,” a look at the Anesthesia Travel Club that was prominent from the 1930s to the 1950s.

“Leading anesthesiologists met, presented papers and had critical discussions at the Travel Club meetings,” said Dr. Waisel, Chair of the Patrick Sim Committee. “It was the highest honor to be selected to be a member of this elite academic and social club. The Anesthesia Travel Club helped shape professional anesthesiology and the medical practice of anesthesia.”

Peter J. Featherstone, M.B., B.Ch., will examine the plight of Western soldiers living in WWII POW camps in the Far East during “Anaesthesia and Surgery in Prisoner of War Camps.”

“The anesthetic care of prisoners of war is only lightly studied,” Dr. Waisel said. “During wartime, countries are not going to waste valuable resources on POWs. Dr. Featherstone will discuss the difficulties and how they were overcome.”

Hirosato Kikuchi, M.D., Ph.D., will explore the first anesthetic introduced in 1804 and widely used in Japan until inhalational agents were introduced in 1846. “Demonstrative Experiment Conducted by Professor Matsuki with Herbal Anesthetic, Mafutsusan, Created by Seishu Hanaoka,” will examine how this anesthetic was used and later studied.

“It was a concoction of herbs,” Dr. Waisel said. “In 1839, what may be the first anesthesia textbook was published about Mafutsusan by a student of Hanaoka. This book discussed the perioperative management, dosing and administration of Mafutsusan.”

The forum will begin with an explanation of resources available to those interested in history through the Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology (WLM). Resources include online services as well as physical objects available through a traveling exhibit.

“Forums such as these, as well as the people you meet at the forums, offer the networking opportunities and inspiration necessary to do historical research. Establishing a relationship with the world-class WLM provides ASA members and others with a terrific foundation,” Dr. Waisel said.

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