Tag Archives: Crawford W. Long

Crawford W. Long Museum, Jefferson

2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.

The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.

Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

Crawford W. Long Statue, Danielsville

Crawford W Long Statue Danielsville GA Madison County Courthouse Grounds Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Dr. Crawford Williamson Long was born in Danielsville on 1 November 1815. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1839. While in college, Long participated in what were known as “ether frolics”, obtaining a slightly altered state by the use of nitrous oxide. This led him to believe there was a possibility that a similar application could be used to alleviate pain during surgery. Upon returning to Georgia, he began a practice in Jefferson. Since he couldn’t procure nitrous oxide in rural Georgia he began experimenting with sulfuric ether. On 30 March 1842 he used sulfuric ether to render patient James M. Venable unconscious for the removal of a tumor. When Venable regained consciousness, he felt no pain. This was the first use of sulfuric ether as an anesthetic and Long went on to become nationally recognized for his pioneering work. He later moved to Athens, where he continued a thriving practice. He died there on 16 June 1878. Long County, in southeast Georgia, was named in his honor in 1920.

In 1926, a statue of Long by Scottish-American sculptor J. Massey Rhind was placed in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. This is likely contemporary to that date and appears to be a copy. The base of the large statue contains general biographical information and this quote: “My profession is to me a ministry from God.”

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/science-medicine/crawford-long-1815-1878

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Filed under --MADISON COUNTY GA--, Danielsville GA