An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15961 entries, 13944 authors and 1935 subjects. Updated: April 29, 2024

BIGELOW, Henry Jacob

7 entries
  • 5651

Insensibility during surgical operations produced by inhalation.

Boston med. Surg. J., 35, 309-17, 379-82, 1846.

William T. G. Morton used ether as an anesthetic for the first time on 16 October 1846 during at operation by John Collins Warren to remove a benign angioma under the jaw of a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital. During the operation it was immediately recognized that inhalation of ether vapor produced complete anesthesia. Bigelow, a surgeon who witnessed the operation, left an excellent account in the above paper, which was read before the Boston Society of Medical Improvement on 9 November 1846, an abstract having been previously read before the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on 3 November. Bigelow's paper was first published in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal on November 18, 1846. Digital facsimile from the Hathi Trust at this link.

Bigelow had offprints printed of this paper, presumably sometime after the original article appeared. The offprint version was printed from reset type and omitted the final seven paragraphs in which Bigelow referred to the patent for the use of ether in surgery that was shared by Morton and Charles Thomas Jackson. This had the effect of crediting Morton for the discovery while ignoring the key contributions to Charles T. Jackson, who shared credit with Morton on the patent. A digital facsimile of the offprint version is available from the Internet Archive at this link.

  • 11914

Animal magnetism superceded: Discovery of a new hypnopoietic.

Lond. med. Gaz., 3, 1085-1086, 1846.

The first publication in England of the discovery of ether anesthesia appeared in the "Medical Intelligence" section of the London Medical Gazette on December 18, 1846. Prior to Fulton & Stanton's discovery of this article it was long assumed that the earliest publication in England was published ten days later, on the last page of The Lancet for Saturday, December 28, 1846. The text of the "Medical Intelligence" entry in the London Medical Gazette is much more substantial than the brief notice in The Lancet. The editor of the London Medical Gazette wrote, "We learn on the authority of a highly respectable physician of Boston, U.S.,[Henry Jacob Bigelow] that a Dr. Morton, a surgeon-dentist of that city, has discovered a process whereby in a few minutes the most profound sleep may be induced, during which teeth may be extracted, and severe operations performed, without the patient being sensible of pain, or having any knowledge of the proceedings of the operator. The process simply consists in causing the patient to inhale the vapour of ether for as short period, and the effect is to produce complete insensibility." See John F. Fulton, "The reception in England of Henry Jacob Bigelow's original paper on anesthesia," New Eng. J. Med., 235 (1946) 745-746.

  • 5730

Ether and chloroform: a compendium of their history, surgical use, dangers and discovery.

Boston, MA: D. Clapp, 1848.

Bigelow’s speedy publication of Morton’s discovery (No. 5651), and his subsequent advocacy of ether as an anesthetic assured its adoption throughout the civilized world. The above work deals with the priority claims of Morton and Charles Thomas Jackson, with Bigelow taking Morton's side in the dispute. Digital facsimile from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: ANESTHESIA › Chloroform, ANESTHESIA › Ether, ANESTHESIA › History of Anesthesia
  • 4461

Resection of the head of the femur.

Amer. J. med. Sci., 24, 90, 1852.

First excision of the hip-joint in America. Unfortunately the one-page article provides no details.

Subjects: ORTHOPEDICS › Orthopedic Surgery & Treatments › Amputations: Excisions: Resections
  • 4424

The mechanism of dislocation and fracture of the hip. With the reduction of the dislocations by the flexion method.

Philadelphia: H. C. Lea, 1869.

Bigelow was the first to describe in detail the mechanism of the iliofemoral (Bigelow’s) ligament, and to show its importance in the reduction of dislocation by the flexion method.

Subjects: ORTHOPEDICS › Orthopedic Surgery & Treatments › Fractures & Dislocations, ORTHOPEDICS › Orthopedic Surgery & Treatments › Hip
  • 6586

A century of American medicine 1776-1876. By Edward H. Clarke, H. J. Bigelow, S. D. Gross, T. Gaillard Thomas and J. S. Billings.

Philadelphia: H. C.Lea, 1876.

Digital facsimile from the Internet Archive at this link.

  • 4292

Lithotrity by a single operation.

Amer. J. med. Sci., 75, 117-34, 1878.

Introduction of litholapaxy at one sitting.

Subjects: UROLOGY › Urinary Calculi