Ether The Making of Modern Surgery

The advent of liquid ether anesthesia changed the way surgeons operated and changed the nature of surgery forever. It was a miracle drug that could reduce surgical pain and speed. The discovery led to a lengthy legal battle between Jackson and Morton, and the invention of ether was widely regarded as quackery at the time. But, a century later, ether anesthesia became an accepted standard in surgical care.

The use of ether has revolutionized medicine

In 1886, William T.G. Morton, a dentist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered the anesthetic properties of ether and nitrous oxide. In 1869, Dr. Warren used this gas to remove a tumor from a patient’s neck. The procedure, however, was a failure, and he credited Morton for the first ether surgery. In 1900, Dr. Warren used ether to remove a tumor from a patient.


Several decades after Crawford Williamson Long’s successful surgery, anesthesia became widespread. In 1842, he was the first person to use ether as an anesthetic. He was 26 years old at the time. By 1846, he had been an anesthesiologist for Dr. John Warren. In 1878, he was already working in an operating room in Boston, and the news quickly spread to other hospitals. The doctors quickly recognized the importance of this anesthetic, and the procedure was a success.