Revolutionizing Anesthesia: The Legacy of Samuel Hayes and the First Anaesthesia Journal

Anaesthesia journals have been published since the early 1920s, although until recently it was widely thought that this was when they were initially published. Among them were the “Current Researches in Anaesthesia and Analgesia,” which first appeared in August 1922, and the “British Journal of Anaesthesia,” which first appeared in 1923–1924.

It was eventually established, however, that the first genuine anaesthesia journal had been published in 1891 by Reverend Samuel Hayes, a dentist and former preacher from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Hayes’s history and nitrous oxide analgesia Hayes, like many dentists of the day, used nitrous oxide analgesia on his patients. He had harsh words for the methods used by some of his peers, including “asphyxial anaesthesia.”

Hayes argued that anaesthetics should be given together with oxygen, which brings us to our fourth point. He thought that adding oxygen to nitrous oxide or any other inhalation anaesthetic would make them safer for patients.

Hayes devised a foot-operated bellows in 1881 that “aerated” the gas from his bubble-through vaporizers, making them more effective. For more accurate dosing, he also developed thermoregulation for his “generators” (vaporizers) to slow the pace at which chloroform was vaporised.

As a dentist, Hayes was acquainted with the “Dental Cosmos” guidebook issued by the SS White Dental Manufacturing Company. To compete with it, he launched a rival quarterly magazine called “Dental and Surgical Microcosm” (DSM). The name was picked out of fun and whimsy.

Hayes’s insistence on defining anaesthesia: Hayes was pleased with himself for having distinguished “anaesthesia” from “asphyxia.” He was trying to differentiate his way of giving anaesthesia by oxygen delivery from what he saw as potentially dangerous asphyxial approaches.

After Samuel Hayes’s untimely death from TB in 1897, the magazine ceased publication. The publishing of his magazine, “Dental and Surgical Microcosm,” ended after his death.

This account of the development of the field of anaesthesia focuses on the pioneering work of Samuel Hayes, who was an early proponent of safe anaesthetic practise and who published the first genuine anaesthesia journal.

(the image courtesy – The Wondrous Story of Anesthesia)

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