London Euroanaesthesia 2016 – History of Anaesthesia Session

London Euroanaesthesia 2016 – History of Anaesthesia Session

  • Issue 64

David Wilkinson | WFSA President

Every year at Euroanaesthesia there is a symposium on the history of anaesthesia that tries to focus on the country and city in which the meeting takes place. This focus on history is usually augmented by a separately organised exhibition of anaesthesia apparatus and medication, which is normally sited close to the trade exhibition.

Euroanaesthesia 2016 is no different in this respect and will have a display of apparatus set up by the Heritage team of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) led by their archivist, Ms Trish Willis. The history symposium is chaired by David Wilkinson, who has organised the last six history symposia for the ESA, and comprises three great lecturers.

Dr. Christine Ball will talk on ‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be’, which is an exploration of the private correspondence between Joseph Clover, one of the great first anaesthetists in London, and Joseph Sampson Gamgee, a famous Birmingham surgeon. Victorian England was a complex social environment; this paper explores the family friendships of these two men and provides a unique insight into the private lives of these very public figures. Chris is a consultant at the Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, and is the Honorary Curator of the Geoffrey Kaye Museum in Melbourne. Chris has created a marvellous website about Clover and has initiated a series entitled ‘Anaesthesia stories’, a series of video interviews of pioneers of Australian anaesthesia, which can be seen on the ANZCA web page. Her series of Cover Notes for the Australian Journal are legendary and were recently collated, revised, and published in book form.

Peter Featherstone is a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and will be talking about ‘That’s the way to do it’, an enigmatic title that hides a fascinating presentation about manual methods of artificial resuscitation. Peter is on the Council of the History of Anaesthesia Society and is their webmaster. He was the recipient of the 2015 Anesthesia History Association David M. Little Media Award for his outstanding work in this latter respect; wait for the joys of his presentation!

Alistair McKenzie is the Honorary Archivist of the AAGBI. He will be talking about ‘The European elucidation of respiratory physiology 1872-1922’. What may appear to be a slightly ‘dry’ title hides a wealth of fascinating insights into the development of an understanding of respiration across these decades. It involves the collaboration of six European countries and it was the development of this knowledge that permitted the expansion and development of our speciality through these eras. Alistair is a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. He is a great historian and was Honorary Librarian of the AAGBI, a terrific Editor of the Proceedings of the History of Anaesthesia Society, and the author of a marvellous book on philately and medical history.

So come and learn about some spectacular aspects of anaesthesia history on the afternoon of Monday 30 May.

David Wilkinson is already making preparations for the 2017 Euroanaesthesia meeting in Geneva and as yet is not finding many eager lecturers to talk on aspects of Swiss anaesthesia history. Volunteers – please contact him.