What is that famous quote from George Santayana? "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Well, not remembering the history of anesthesiology may not have such dire consequences, but you are missing out on a lot of good fun facts and trivia. I'd like to point all you readers to the website of the Anesthesia History Association. No, don't roll your eyes as you have sudden flashbacks of snoozing through Western Civilization 102 in college. History is FUN, FUN, FUN!
My favorite feature on this site is the "This Month in Anesthesiology" link. Here, you'll find that Samuel Colt was granted a patent for the revolver pistol on February 25, 1836. How is this relevant to anesthesia? Apparently as a side business, Samuel Colt, or as he'd like to refer to himself as "Professor Coult", toured the country giving demonstrations on the use of nitrous oxide. How's that for some far fetched six degrees of separation anesthesia trivia.
Other neat little tidbits include the first use of ether in a wartime setting during the Mexican-American War, which ended on February 1, 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. And don't forget the publication on February 13, 1943 in Lancet by Sir Robert Macintosh and his invention of the Macintosh laryngoscope blade.
Won't you be a hit at the next anesthesia department party?