Photographs of Early Anesthesia Operations
No photographic record of the Gilbert Abbott operation in 1846 is known to exist, but several daguerreotypes by Albert Sands Southworth (1811-1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808-1901), taken at similar operations in the Ether Dome in the following year have survived. These include a reenactment of the Abbott operation with an inhaler clearly visible above the patient’s shoulder and an operation on a young woman with John Collins Warren in attendance—thought to be one of the earliest operations where a sponge was employed in place of an inhaler. Use of a sponge commonly replaced the inhaler in March or April 1847. There are also different views of another operation with a sponge, this time on the leg of young man. This operation has sometimes been associated with Warren’s last lecture. A third daguerreotype from this procedure is preserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.