Modern Anaesthesia, with Special Reference to the Chair of Anaesthetics in Oxford
The description “modern anaesthesia” is somewhat vague, but we have all got a good general idea of what is meant. To me, the adjective “modern” implies change, and when I received an invitation to contribute to this Symposium, my mind ran back to my early days in our specialty and to a number of the changes which have since taken place. My most vivid memory of those early days was of the virtual impossibility of relaxing the rigid abdominal wall of the man with a perforated gastric ulcer, particularly if his respiratory centre had been depressed by morphine. And then I remembered there wasn’t a single anaesthetist of my generation who had not suffered his moments of embarrassment through holding up the start of an operation — when everyone else was ready — because of difficulties associated with passing an endotracheal tube. With these two pictures of the old days still clearly in mind, it is not surprising that my outstanding impression of modern anaesthesia is the dramatic ease with which fundamental protective reflexes are now abolished — or, in other words, the transformation which has been effected by the relaxants. For this, all of us, patients, surgeons and anaesthetics alike, are indebted to Harold Griffith.
KeywordsNitrous Oxide Endotracheal Tube Personal Story British National Health Vivid Memory
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