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Title: History of anaesthesia in Malta
Authors: Cassar, Paul
Keywords: Anesthesiology -- Malta
Anesthesiology -- History
Anesthetics -- History
Anesthetics -- Administration
Issue Date: 1984-12
Publisher: Association of Anaesthesiologists in Malta
Citation: Cassar, P. (1984). History of anaesthesia in Malta. Acta Anaesthesiologica Melitensis, 1(2), 13-18.
Abstract: The earliest reference to surgical anaesthesia occurs in the herbal of Dioscorides in the first century of our era. Dioscorides recommended the oral administration of the wine of the root of the mandrake for the dulling of pain in patients undergoing surgery as a potion to put the patient in a deep sleep. During the middle ages other ways of producing anaesthesia were devised. There was the narcotic sponge (spongia somnijera) where a sponge was immersed in a solution of mandrake, bella- donna and other drugs and then pressed over the mouth of the patient who, by sucking in the solution, fell into a deep sleep. The so-called hammer- stroke was also practised. This consisted in encasing the patient's head in a kind of helmet on which the surgeon delivered a good blow with a wooden hammer in such a way as to knock the patient unconscious and thus enable him to go through the operation without feeling pain. Another method was to compress the carotid arteries to produce syncope and insensibility to painful stimuli.
Appears in Collections:AAM, Volume 1, Issue 2
AAM, Volume 1, Issue 2

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