Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Essays on the First Hundred Years of Anaesthesia

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 14 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a794
  1. Aidan O’Donnell, consultant anaesthetist, St John’s Hospital, Livingston, West Lothian
  1. aidanmark{at}

    In many departments where I have worked there is a shelf in the library that contains old, dusty books about the history of anaesthesia. Browsing one day, I picked up one old book and found I could not put it down.

    Born in 1894, William Stanley Sykes was an anaesthetist in Leeds before the second world war. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Greece for some years. At the end of the war he returned to civilian life to find that anaesthesia had evolved in the intervening years, and he considered his skills …

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