III. Stages of Anaesthesia


Alcoholic Intoxication*

General Anaesthesia


Dizzy and delightful

Amnesia and analgesia


Drunk and disorderly

Uninhibited response to stimuli


Dead drunk

Surgical anaesthesia


Dangerously deep

Vital centre depression

 *modified from Gaddum's Pharmacology 1950

Though alcohol is swallowed rather than inhaled it is nevertheless a general anaesthetic, and the stages of alcoholic intoxication are entirely comparable to the stages of anaesthesia produced by the inhalational agents. Amnesia and analgesia are relatively common at cocktail parties! For further discussion see Gasman Chap 11/1954.



 A representation of the "first surgical anaesthesia". The incident used by Sir James Simpson to allay the opposition to the use of anaesthesia. The deep sleep - anaesthesia according to Simpson - into which Adam was cast is quite evident in this woodcut from a history by Hartmann Schodel written in 1493. Vesalius in the sixteenth century, by his anatomical work, disproved the idea that men had one less rib than women - the missing rib of Adam.

from Devil, Drugs and Doctors by Howard Haggard; 1929, London: Heinemann.


Part 1 (history of anaesthesia before and after 1846)

Part 2 (comparison of agents available in 1847)

Home (to visit other articles/book on the history of anaesthesia)

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