Notable Names in Anaesthesia
- By: Andrew Papanikitas
At first glance, an uncharitable observer may wonder whether historical figures from anaesthesia are notable. But some of the names do ring bells immediately: Apgar, Ringer, and Trendelenberg are names that should have meaning for most clinical students.
Why should this not just be yet another exercise in train spotting? You may disagree, but many find that a knowledge of the people that made the discoveries that we take for granted, and the way in which those discoveries were made, can make learning facts less dry.
Take Virginia Apgar (1909-74), for example. In the year that she was appointed first woman professor of anaesthesia at Columbia University, she was having breakfast with some medical students in the hospital canteen. One of them asked how to evaluate a neonate. “She reached for a piece of paper, scribbled down a scoring system of 0, 1, or 2 for each of the five