jeudi 4 août 2011

United States: The unfortunate fate of Horace Wells, the inventor of anesthesia.


A young and honorable dentist of his state.

        
Horace Wells is 22 and worked as a dentist since 1836 in Hartford, Connecticut in the United States. He even has as customers, the Governor of the State of Connecticut and his family.
        
We are December 10, 1844, when he went with his wife Elizabeth Wales at the fair on the square of Hartford.
        
The couple made a stop at the stand of the chemist itinerant Sardner Quincy Colton demonstrates that laughing gas (nitrous oxide).           
All those who want the gas writhe with laughter. Suddenly, a customer of the dentist, Samuel A. Cooley collapse of the stage and is seriously injured. But he does not seem to feel pain.
        
A light flashed in the brain of the great dentist, used to the cries of pain of his patients.
        
After learning about the composition of nitrous oxide, Horace Wells decided to experiment it on his patients. The following week, he treats fifteen patients as a result of this gas and they say they are truly happy not to feel pain.
        
On January 20, 1845 when trying to demonstrate to a gathering of experts at the University of Harvard, he makes a mistake. It is a total fiasco. Deeply affected by this failure, he sold his house and his office and becomes the first vendor tables before devoting himself to ornithology. As soon as he hears of chloroform, he attempts to try it on himself and became hooked. A second error that makes it almost crazy.
        
On November 21, 1847, in his dementia, he balances a bottle of sulfuric acid on the face of two prostitutes in New York.
        
Immediately arrested, he was sentenced and imprisoned in the Tombs prison in New York. Considering him as a man of good sense, the judge allowed him to go home take a few personal effects. He took the opportunity to slip into his bag a bottle of chloroform and a knife.

Some hours before his release ... !

        
On January 24, 1848, in his cell before passing under the influence of chloroform, he wrote this pathetic note and range his femoral artery ... :

        
"I take the pen to finish what I have to say. Great God! How did I get here? This would be a dream? Before midnight, I paid my debt to nature, and he must, because when I go out free tomorrow, I could not live on hearing me call a dishonest man. And God knows I'm not.
        
Ah! my dear mother, my brother, my sister what can I tell you? My despair that allows me to bid you farewell. I'm going to die tonight in the belief that God knows all hearts, forgive me this terrible act.
        
I will spend in prayer that I have time to live. How unfortunate for my family! and what causes me the greatest anxiety is to see my name be attached to a scientific discovery that made him familiar to all the learned world.
        
And now that I can still hold my pen, I must say goodbye to them all! Oh! God forgive me! Oh! my dear wife and my child, I left without means of existence, I would like to live and work for you, but I can not, I'd go crazy!
         I bought the instrument of my destruction when the person who allowed me to keep me yesterday to get into my room. "

        
Ironically, four days after his suicide, fell the news: the Royal Academy of Medicine had just received "all the honors for having discovered and implemented the use of vapors and gases so that surgery can be performed without pain ".

        
The young man buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford and whose bust sits proudly Place United States in Paris with the inscription "In the American dentist Horace Wells, innovative surgical anesthesia 1844-1848" had succumbed to his invention oh! how essential to our  modern medicine without ever having enjoyed!

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