The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th and 19th century in which rural societies in Europe and America became Industrial and urban. Industrialisation was the beginning of a major shift to powered, multi-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. This extremely important era also improved transportation and communication. During the Industrial revolution many amazing life changing inventions were created. One of which was anaesthetic.
Early types of anaesthetic used in the industrial revolution period included mainly the use of gases. Prior to the invention of anaesthetic, mesmerism and alcohol was used for sensation dulling.
Anaesthetic is a substance that causes loss of sensation or consciousness. The word anasthsia(the state of being under anaesthetic) originates from Greece. There were many different variations of anaesthetic. Local, general and regional. Local pauses any sensation and pain from being felt in a specific region of the body. Local anaesthetic is usually only used in smaller areas of the body and is injected in the body through a needle under the skin. The patient is still fully conscious during the procedure and is responsive. Regional anaesthetic is very similar to local but it covers deeper and wider locations, targeting nerves to stop sensation in that region. General anaesthetic is used to completely stop all sensation throughout the entire body. The patient is entirely unaware of their surroundings. The drug is entered into the system by being injected into the veins of the patient or gas breathed in through a gas mask covering their mouth and nose.
Anaesthetic was a breakthrough invention during the industrial revolution. The first successful surgery with anaesthetic, on the 16th of October, 1846 was performed by William T. G . Morton . Prior to its development, all surgeries were performed without medication. Surgeries were very uncommon and were only performed in extreme cases. The patient was awake the entire procedure and experienced excruciating pain, leaving them traumatised if they managed to withstand the operation without fatality.
The invention of anaesthetic contributed to the population movement and settlement patterns during the industrial revolution. In this era, there was a significant influx of people relocating from the countryside to urban areas. The city was a place where resources could be easily accessed and more opportunities were available to people. When anaesthetic was discovered people (mainly the elderly) would have relocated closer to hospitals, where medical attention could be more easily obtained. This is because surgery wasn't seen as terrifying then. Some doctors would have also relocated closer to cities to learn more about the recent invention of anaesthetic and perform anaesthetised surgeries in the hospitals. Hospitals weren't close if you resided in the countryside, therefore doctors settled into more urban areas. Due to anaesthetic, the population rose, as peoples illnesses were able to be medically tended to through successful surgeries. The lives of men, women and children were being flooded by fear caused by the fact that surgery wasn't safe and usually concluded in death. Once anaesthetic started to become popular, people began to realise that they no longer had to worry when they had to receive surgery.
The Industrial Revolution had many effects on jobs, the population and many other things. Before the Industrial Revolution, most people lived in the country because they were poor farmers. They then started moving to the city after the invention of the steam engine. Ways of transportation were improved during the Industrial Revolution. Waterways were used to transport items that were heavy. The roads were improved to make them smooth and easier to travel on. Unfortunately, not all of the effects are positive. Air and water is now becoming very polluted as a result of the Industrial Revolution. This has heavily affected the environment and has contributed to the ongoing problem of Global warming. The landscape was also modified due to the industrial revolution. Many more factories were built which resulted in less farmland. The industrial revolution also made communication easier. Inventions such as the telegraph were created. The telegraph is a system for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire. Anaesthetic also meant that surgery was less risky and became a more common job so as well as more people becoming doctors, they were moving into urban areas for work.
In this photo is shows how patients had to be tied up to a chair to try and prevent them from moving. Moving from the pain, whilst surgery was being performed could result in unesasary injuries that could lead to death. This is what happened before anaesthetic was introduced.
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