Anaesthesia is a state of controlled and reversible loss of consciousness usually associated with insensitivity to pain, reflex depression, and a variable degree of muscle relaxation. This definition by Famewo C.E. of the University of Ibadan is summed up in the Greek epistemology, ‘a’ meaning without, and ‘aesthesis’ meaning perception. Anaesthesia became a subject of study in the University Lagos in 1962.

The analgesic property of Nitrous oxide, the laughing gas, discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1972 was described by Humphrey Davy in 1800. By 1184 anaesthesia has been administered with the laughing gas for dental extraction. The Boston dentist, William Morton finally succeeded in bringing the use of ether anaesthesia to the heart of science. Muscle relaxant came to use in 1942. With the advent of muscle relaxant came the possibility of patients under anaesthesia to hear what is going on during surgery. Four out of the one hundred patients studied by Famewo in the University College Hospital Ibadan presented for caesarean operation were able to recollect some comments made about them during operation.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer