Physical Science Honors
December 11, 2012
The Truth about Anesthesiology
Anesthetics have been around for over a hundred years. The first ever recorded use of an anesthetic was during the time of the Incas. Shamans drilled holes in the heads of their patients while holding chewed up cocoa leaves over the patient’s mouth and nose. This ritual was believed to set free your bad spirits through the holes and the cocoa leaves provided you comfort while returning back to your good self. However, anesthetics were not commonly used after their fall until about the late 1700s to modern times. Prior to the 1840s, anesthesia was not used at all on patients by doctors and dentists. During this time period, if you required an amputation or some other kind of surgery it was absolutely necessary to save your life. In 1846, a dentist publicly demonstrated that ether would put his patients to sleep. This spread around and eventually ether became the revival of anesthesiology. Now, all those facts are interesting and good to know if you’re learning about anesthetics. However, let’s say you’re in medical school. What exactly is considered an anesthetic? An anesthetic is any substance that will reduce sensitivity to the amount of pain you endure. So it doesn’t just have to be laughing gas at the dentist or ether at the doctor for an amputation. Advil is an anesthetic for aches and soreness. Warm water can be used as an anesthetic. Itching powder can be used to reduce irritation of the skin. There are anesthetics all around us, some of which you probably didn’t know were. The next question you may have is how something is classified as an anesthetic. The answer is quite simple. As long as it reduces the amount of pain that you feel, it’s classified as an anesthetic. It doesn’t not matter how it is used. It can be inhaled, injected, or even taken orally. They can be soft and smooth, large pills, and even a liquid. However, you must always remain...
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