There is something that one wants, but everyone gets without asking for it. Can you name it? It is pain. All of us wish with all our hearts that there was no such thing as pain in the world. People in pain will give everything they have o anyone who can help them to get rid their pain. This story is about a man whose work as helped millions of people and animals to escape a great deal of pain. He was a doctor and his name was James Simpson.

Simpson was born on 7 June 1811 at place called Bathgate in Scotland. His father was a baker. He encouraged James to go on with his studies instead of learning the family business. James’s progress at school was very quick. He was only fourteen years old, when he went up to the University of Edinburgh. He chose to study medicine and became a qualified doctor by the time he was twenty-one. It was part of Dr Simpson’s hospital duties to help other doctor during operations. On these occasions, he had to stand by watching while the patient screamed in unbearable pain. In those days, surgical operations were cruelly painful. Patients were tied to the operation table with strong straps to prevent them from struggling. They were given does of whisky to dull their as much as possible. But this did not help them very much. Often, when a patient cried out aloud in agony, the surgeon hurried the operation.

This was not a good thing to do. Operations should be done carefully, and surgeons should be able to give their whole attention to the task. But how could they do this when they were disturbed by heart –breaking cries?

`Is there nothing that will help patients feel no pain? Surgeons should be able to do operations carefully. They can’t do them well if the patients move and shout in pain.’ These were Dr Simpson’s thoughts as he stood by the operation table. `I must search for a pain-killer until I find one’, he thought. And the more operation he saw, the more determined he became.

Simpson had to carry out two kinds of tasks. First, he had to find a chemical that could lessen or kill pin when the operation took place. Then, he had to be sure that the pain-killer would not-kill the patient as well, or arm the patient’s health. But how could he make sure of this? He could not use his patients or other people in experiments. It might be dangerous. So he decided to experiment on himself, and on some friends of his who offered to help as volunteers.

One day, Simpson showed his friends a new chemical called chloroform. It was a liquid that gave off a kind of vapor, and had been bought from a chemist in Liverpool. Simpson gathered as much information as he could about this liquid. Then he decided to test it. He could about this liquid. Then he decided poured some of it into a glass. Then he and two of his friends began to inhale it, that is, they breathed in the vapor that rose from the glass.

When they had inhaled it for some time, the three men became unconscious. It was as if they were fast sleep. They saw nothing, heard nothing and felt nothing, not even the passing of time.

We do not know exactly how long the three friends stayed unconscious. It was Simpson who came to himself first. The chloroform had done him no harm at all and he was happy and excited about this. But he had to wait and see what happened to his friends, soon they too recovered one after the other, and they said that they felt quite well.

Now Simpson knew how to make operations completely painless. If a patent inhaled the right quantity of chloroform vapor before an operation, he knew nothing about what the surgeon was doing. Then, the surgeon could work on any part of the patient’s body without giving her or him any pain whatever. In other words, Simpson had discovered that chloroform was an `anesthetic’.

`Anesthetic’ is the doctor’s word for something that makes us knows nothing and feels nothing. There are `general’ anesthetic, and `local’ anesthetic. If a doctor gives us a general anesthetic, we fall into something like a deep sleep. Chloroform is a general anesthetic. General anesthetics are necessary only during bigger and more serious operations. To make smaller operations painless, doctors use local anesthetics.

When a local anesthetic is used in any particular part of the body, that part becomes and feels nothing, but the patient herself is awake and can see almost everything that happening.

When we go to dentists to have our teeth pulled out, they may inject a local anesthetic into our gums and then pull our teeth out. We will not feel pain, although we may feel the dentist tugging at the tooth. Teeth were not removed painlessly in Simpson’s days.

As we know, there were no good local anesthetics then. These were discovered much later. But just before Simpson found out what chloroform could do, some American doctors discovered another general anesthetic. This was ether. Medical scientists soon found that chloroform was better than ether as an anesthetic in many ways, later, they discovered even better anesthetics that either ether or chloroform.

Simpson and is friend successfully tested chloroform on 4 May 1847. But it did not bring relief to any patient till 1855. Most doctors refused to use it. They were very suspicious of this new drug. They said they did not know what injury it might do to their patients’ health. Many religious groups were also against the use of chloroform. They felt that5 god had good reasons for giving His craterous pain.

Simpson had to work hard to remove other doctor’s doubts from their minds, and to convince them that chloroform could be used quite safely.

For some time, Simpson tried in vain. Ten, in 1853, he got a rare opportunity to prove that he was right.

He had been made one of the queen’s doctor’s in the same year in which he tested chloroform on himself.

In 1853, Queen Victoria allowed the doctors to give her chloroform. One of the three royal surgeons gave it to her before an operation, and the queen later thanked Simpson. She said the drug had taken away the pain and congratulated him on his remarkable achievement. In 1866, Queen Victoria gave Simpson the title `Sir’.

After the queen’s operation, doctors began to use chloroform and ether during their operations. Anesthetics are now very common. Does anyone remember Simpson and the great work he did?

Perhaps not, but he lives every time a patient has an operation and feels no pain.

 

 


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