Linda Stratmann traces the social, medical and criminal history of chloroform, from early medical practices to create oblivion through the discovery of chloroform and its discovery, its use and misuse in the 19th century, to the present.
The author clearly presents the controversies which surrounded chloroform from its birth on: who was its first discoverer; the debate between Boston & Edinburgh over its safety, as compared to that of ether; the medical and religious oppositions to its use in obstetrics (or even in surgery); the quarrel between the Scottish and English surgeons on its safe mode of administration; and the disputes over the mechanism of the instantaneous death that it not infrequently caused. All sides of the debates are fairly presented and soundly judged on the basis of facts gleaned in a vast literature.
The scientific and medical material is presented clearly and soberly, in a crisp, vivid, and lucid style. The author presents a fair judgment of a drug, which spared patients the horrors of the bite of the knife but could also kill with the speed of a thunderbolt.
The book also offers vivid biographic vignettes of the great pioneers of chloroform. Some of them, little known, such as Samuel Guthrie and Edward Lawrie beautifully come alive in the book.
Over the years chloroform was recommended for every physical and mental disease and the book includes many amusing stories about those medical fads. From its birth to our present days, chloroform was also used for wrongdoing & Mrs.Read more ›