The roots of anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital have humble beginnings. In 1846, a doctor named William T.G Morton became an innovator with one simple demonstration at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr Morton used ether vapors on a patient who are about to undergo surgery. The aim of using ether vapors was to make the patient feel better. The sudden mental fear of surgery had made people wary about what types of pain they would feel. With this demonstration, Dr William T.G Morton would change the whole idea of how patients deal with pain while in surgery. Due to the ether vapors, after Dr Morton started the surgery, the audience was amazed to discover the patient did not scream. Dr Morton's ingenuity had just uncovered anesthesia in front of a crowd of onlookers.
How anesthesia has evolved within the department:
Our work at the Anesthesia department of the Massachusetts General Hospital has evolved in the following ways to create a place where knowledge of anesthesia is deep and broad:
- Our Anesthesia Residency Program is passionate about nurturing the future talents of doctors and physicians in the field of anesthesia. Giving residents the healthy environment they need to learn and grow within the study of anesthesia, our residency program is popular and highly sought-after by the brightest academic minds in medicine.
- The department added to its reputation for innovation when it started using anesthetic techniques to trauma victims as early as the 1960s. By going away from convention and embracing all that anesthesia can offer patients, the department proved that the field of anesthesia was all-encompassing for the patient. It allowed the patient to step on the platform of comfort, an invaluable emotion for patients who are receiving surgery. As this example shows, our department is committed to the alleviation of pain by the usage of complex yet safe anesthetic techniques to make surgery an experience that patients can come through without painful memories or feelings.
- Massachusetts General Hospital is the nerve centre of important research, which was pioneered by famous names in anesthesia studies such as Dr Henry Beecher. A shining example of the department's contribution to the study of anesthesia includes pioneering research about how neuromuscular blocking agents could work within anesthetic solutions. The usage of nitric oxide in the field of anesthesia is another hallmark of the department's innovative eye when it comes to pushing the boundaries in this complex field of medical study. From the intense research carried out by the expert faculty members of the department, the study of anesthesia is defined to help people benefit from what anesthesia is here to offer: comfort and support.
How the future of anesthesia will be shaped
The anesthesia department is a pioneering example of how academic research and passion for medicine can come together to create a place where academics and physicians are furthering the study of anesthesia. Massachusetts General Hospital is proud of the history of the anesthesia department: we are a department where history and legacy are important. In 1994, Dr William M. Zapol took over from Richard J. Kitz, M.D to be the third Anesthesist-in-Chief in the history of the department. As we look to the future of anesthesia and pain-related studies, Massachusetts General Hospital is striving to play a key part in how anesthesia reacts to the world. From touching on delivering stellar patient care, diligent research and passion for anesthesia, the Anesthesia department of Massachusetts General Hospital will remain at the forefront of the study and remedy of pain for the future generations of people in our world.