corner corner Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion


Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion
by Linda Stratmann | History
Registered by wingFiregirlwing of Annandale, Virginia USA on 8/15/2015
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by GoryDetails): travelling

This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingFiregirlwing from Annandale, Virginia USA on Saturday, August 15, 2015

This book has not been rated.

Medical stuff is just fascinating to me. 

Journal Entry 2 by wingFiregirlwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This book has not been rated.

Released 1 yr ago (4/26/2016 UTC) at Alexandria, Virginia USA


Sending out as part of the Wishlist Tag game. Happy reading! 

Journal Entry 3 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, April 30, 2016

This book has not been rated.

Thank you, firegirl! I love medical stuff too, and this looks like an interesting read. 

Journal Entry 4 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

8 out of 10

An interesting history of chloroform, its use and misuse, the story of its “discovery”, and much more. I found it interesting that its use (vs. ether) varied significantly depending on location. Scotland loved it, England was less enthusiastic; many parts of the US used it, but the Northeast not so much – ether was preferred. Chloroform was more portable; ether safer (though there was often dispute by practitioners over the safety issue, along with occasional falsifying – or at least manipulation – of death statistics).

The difficulty with chloroform was in tweaking both the amount used and the method of delivery. Originally administered on a handkerchief, several models of delivery machines were tried, with varying results.
Handkerchiefs, of course, continued to be used most frequently, as not everyone could afford the machines, nor were they foolproof.

Its use also varied by procedure. Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is given a mention as being preferable for dental procedures; chloroform was good for rather quick surgeries, and its use in labor and delivery was long argued as to whether it was necessary. Queen Victoria, however, did successfully deliver her 8th child, Prince Leopold, under chloroform, and was very pleased with the experience.

[I had an early childhood experience with ether that I remember as if it were yesterday (though it was over half a century ago!). At the age of 5, I needed an operation on my inner ear, and I remember that scary-looking ether mask coming towards my face, the unpleasant smell, and calling out for my mother before succumbing. And the nausea afterwards].

So neither chloroform nor ether were any great shakes. Thank goodness medicine now has safer and more pleasant kinds of anesthesia. But I guess at the time it beat the alternative: being fully awake and with no pain relief. Yikes!
Adding to 6of8's Biographies of Things bookbox. 

Journal Entry 5 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Friday, February 24, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 1 yr ago (2/24/2017 UTC) at Winchester, Massachusetts USA


Traveling in 6of8's Biographies of Things bookbox.

Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, February 26, 2017

7 out of 10

This book's been on my wishlist for a while, so I was delighted to see it in the bookbox!

Later: An enjoyable - and often terrifying - look at the history of chloroform, with some truly startling scenes in which people would rather casually play around with the new substance. Granted, a lot of people are still susceptible to "Hey, you gotta try this, it makes you feel so weird!" - if they weren't, we wouldn't have a global drug problem - but it still took me aback, especially when the people involved were scientists and really should have known better.

It is difficult these days to imagine a time when there was no safe option for anesthesia. What seemed even more odd to me, though, were the folks who believed that it was somehow *immoral* to use anesthetics - some using Biblical injunctions (most notably the bit about Eve and all subsequent women and "in pain shall ye bring forth children") while others just thought that it was somehow cheating to try and avoid feeling pain.

Once the proper use and at least some of the risks of chloroform were understood, the book gets into some peripheral uses - as a tool for criminals (by H. H. Holmes (see The Devil in the White City) among others), possible uses on the battlefield, etc.

The book summarizes the fall of chloroform too, in the face of newer, more precise, and safer methods. But its history remains quite fascinating! 

Journal Entry 7 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 646 DW Hwy in Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Friday, August 25, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 mos ago (8/25/2017 UTC) at Little Free Library, 646 DW Hwy in Merrimack, New Hampshire USA


I left this book in the LFL on this lovely day; hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2017 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 One Word Title release challenge. *** 

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