Adam Hammer (1818 - 1878) - remarks on a forgotten
pioneer of ether anaesthesia in obstetrics

Goerig M, Streckfuss W.
Klinik und Poliklinik fur Anasthesiologie,
Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Anasthesiol Intensivmed Notfallmed Schmerzther. 2004 May;39(5):265-75.


Adam Hammer, born in 1818, and working as a doctor for the poor since 1847 in Mannheim, was the first person in the German speaking world to use ether for pain relief during labor on February 18th 1847. He took part in the abortive April 1848 Revolution in Mannheim - a pinnacle of German liberalism and later of political radicalism, which attented to abolish the Monarchy and introduce a democratic Republic. After the revolution was put down, Hammer emigrated to the United States and settled down in St. Louis, Missouri. Remaining politically active, he joined the Republican Party, founded in 1854 and served as a military surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Even before the war, he was engaged in efforts to improve the level of medical training in America and was involved with the foundation of High Schools which offered training courses along the lines of German universities. His ideas and innovations were not introduced immediately, but had a significant impact on medical training methology later on in the US. During a visit in Europe in 1876, he was the first to diagnose a coronary thombosis as the cause of a heart attack on a live patient. The diagnosis was later confirmed by post-morten autopsy on the patient. In 1877 he returned to Germany and died one year later. The biography of Adam Hammer mirrows that of many other German-Americans whose emigration proved to be a gain for America but a loss for Germany. This story was destinated to be repeated in terrible circumstances some decades later.
Otto Kappeler
William Morton
John Collins Warren
Chloroform sniffing
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Barbiturate anaesthesia
Crawford Williamson Long
Anaesthesia in German-speaking regions
First use of anaesthetics in different countries

and further reading
Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World