New header

I have changed the header on the site. Prior to today each page was headed by a random picture that was part of the WordPress template. This afternoon I decided to do away with that and put a permanent picture in place. The new header is taken from the picture “First Operation Under Ether” by Robert Hinckley. The original is in the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School.

The picture depicts the first public demonstration of an operation under anaesthesia. The procedure took place in 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The lucky patient enjoyed a somewhat pain-free excision of a small vascular tumour from his jaw. At the end of the operation, John Warren (Professor of Surgery at Harvard – the gentleman in the centre of the picture holding the instrument ) is said to have declared, “Gentlemen, this is no humbug” thus giving his imprimatur to the new-fangled gassing.

An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine describes this momentous event and is available to read on-line.

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