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What did people do before anesthesia? - Sally Frampton

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TEDEd Animation

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The quest for anesthetics that could induce unconsciousness and enable more meticulous surgeries began around the early 3rd century CE. Before anesthesia was widely used, patients had to consciously endure every moment of surgery. So, what methods did doctors use before modern medicine caught up? Sally Frampton traces the history of anesthetic drugs.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Want to know more about the history of surgery? Find out more here and here about Robert Liston, one of surgery’s most fascinating figures. Learn more here about the other big surgical innovation of the nineteenth century—the development of antiseptic surgery. 

What improvements still need to be made in the realm of pain management? Find out more about continued disparities in access to pain relief and also how emissions from anesthesia could be reduced.

Finally, discover fascinating new developments in automated technology that are advancing the field of anesthesia.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sally Frampton
  • Director Alexander Hellebaut
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Storyboard Artist Alexander Hellebaut
  • Animator Alexander Hellebaut, Laurens de Mets, Vincent de Mets
  • Compositor Arthur Brouns
  • Violin by Kristofor Parvanov
  • Art Director Alexander Hellebaut
  • Sound Designer Gillis Van Der Wee
  • Music Arthur Brouns
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Produced by Anna Bechtol, Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Molly Bryson
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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