The recent outbreak of Ebola in parts of Africa–and the frightened posts and live-tweets that accompanied two infected health workers as they returned to the US–give us a glimpse not only of an epidemic’s power but of our private terrors. Self-preservation, fear of the unknown, and a desire to protect the boundaries of nations, persons, bodies and cells brings out the best and worst in us. History provides both sides; the uninfected locked up with the infected in 14th century plague houses, left to starve and suffer in the dark–or doctors like Cleveland’s Horace Ackley, who personally combated and...
John Snow in Anesthesia and Epidemiology
Today, June 16th, we remember the work of Dr. John Snow who died on this day in 1858. During his lifetime, Snow’s innovative work in the fields of anesthesia and epidemiology was met either with public rejoicing or skepticism . As public opinion has shifted with new available information, technologies, and social expectations, so has the response to Snow’s endeavors. When the control and protection of bodies become subjects of public discourse, the morbid matters of health are determined not only by research, but by convention.
Chloroform: The Popular Poison
John Snow popularized the use of chloroform...