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Crawford Williamson Long (November 1, 1815 – June 16, 1878) was an American physician and pharmacist best known for his early use of diethyl ether as an anesthetic.

Life and work

Long was born in Danielsvillemarker, Madison Countymarker, Georgia. He received his M.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1839. After observing the same physiological effects with diethyl ether ("ether") that Humphry Davy had described for nitrous oxide in 1800, Long used ether for the first time on March 30, 1842 to remove a tumor from the neck of a patient, James M. Venable, in Jefferson, Georgia. Long subsequently removed a second tumor from Venable and used ether as an anesthetic in amputations and childbirth. The results of these trials were published in 1848 in The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal. An original copy of this publication is held in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Crawford Long was a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society while a student at the University of Georgiamarker and shared a room with Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Long was a cousin of the western legend Doc Holliday.

Long died in Athensmarker, Georgia in 1878. The Emory-University-operatedmarker Crawford Long Hospital in downtown Atlantamarker, Georgia was named in his honor in 1931 and retained that name for 78 years. In 2009 the hospital was renamed "Emory University Hospital Midtown" . The Crawford W. Long Museum in downtown Jeffersonmarker, Georgia has been in operation since 1957. A statue of Crawford Long stands in the crypt of the United States Capitolmarker as one of the two designated monuments to represent the state of Georgia.

Although William T. G. Morton is well-known for performing his historic demonstration of ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846 in Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker, Long is now regarded as the first to have administered ether anesthesia for surgery. Morton is generally credited with the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospitalmarker, yet Long had informed several surgical colleagues who similarly administered ether in their practices. In 1854, Long requested William Crosby Dawson, a U.S. Senator, to present his claims to the attention of Congress.



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