A Wellcome Library GCSE learning resource for Medicine
This section focuses on a key factor in the development of
surgery - anaesthetics - as a means of examining how
science has changed medicine, but also to investigate the nature of
another key concept in the Medicine Through Time course:
Pain had always been a major problem inhibiting developments in
surgery. Obviously anaesthetics were needed, but why was Simpson
experimenting with chloroform in 1847; why not somebody else at
another time, earlier or later?
The material in this section reveals that science was entering a
time of tremendous importance at this point in the 19th century,
and that chemistry was the key science (later both physics and
biology had their peak moments). Several gases and other chemicals
(chloroform is a vapour, not a gas) were experimented with in order
to establish their properties. Anaesthesia was a useful by-product
of these investigations.
This is one of several resources, prepared by the Wellcome
Library, and designed to support teachers and learners preparing
for the Schools History Project GCSE course 'Medicine Through Time:
A Development Study'.
The resources are not a course in themselves, but focus on key
concepts and understandings required by the course, supplementing
more commonly used materials. The collection includes some topics
central to the course, items that provide overviews and some topics
that extend the normal range of coverage.
They can be used online or downloaded for whole classes, groups
or individuals as part of a teaching scheme or for self-study. They
are appropriate for candidates of any of the GCSE awarding