David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Before anaesthesia, surgery used to be agony. ItÂ’s hard to imagine that anyone could have been anything but pleased when painless surgery was introduced in the mid-19th century. And yet, although many welcomed anaesthesia, some did object. In Zurich, anaesthesia was even outlawed. Â“Pain is a natural and intended curse of the primal sin. Any attempt to do away with it must be wrong,Â” claimed the Zurich City Fathers. Painless delivery in childbirth was a particularly contentious issue. Some insisted that Â“in sorrow thou shalt bring forth childrenÂ” (Genesis 3:16). Others, like Doctor Charles Delucena Meigs (1792-1869), Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women at Jefferson Medical College, believed that labour pains were Â“a most desirable, salutary and conservative manifestation of the life force.Â” There was even a belief, expressed in 1847 in The New York Journal of Medicine, that pain was vital to surgical procedure.
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