John Snow's practice of obstetric anesthesia
Caton D.
Department of Anesthesiology,
University of Florida College of Medicine,
Gainesville, USA.
Anesthesiology. 2000 Jan;92(1):247-52


The influence of Queen Victoria on the acceptance of obstetric anesthesia has been overstated, and the role of John Snow has been somewhat overlooked. It was his meticulous, careful approach and his clinical skills that influenced many of his colleagues, Tyler-Smith and Ramsbotham and the Queen's own physicians. The fact that the Queen received anesthesia was a manifestation that the conversion of Snow's colleagues had already taken place. This is not to say that this precipitated a revolution in practice. Medical theory may have changed, but practice did not, and the actual number of women anesthetized for childbirth remained quite low. This, however, was a reflection of economic and logistical problems, too few women were delivered of newborn infants during the care of physicians or in hospitals. Conversely, it is important to recognize that John Snow succeeded in lifting theoretical restrictions on the use of anesthesia.
Dr John Snow
John Snow: epidemiologist
Anaesthesia/16th October 1846
John Snow and medical research
Obstetric chloroform anaesthesia
John Snow and cholera epidemics
John Snow and medical geography
First use of anaesthetics in different countries
Rebreathing of anaesthetic gases in exhaled air
Dr John Snow and the London cholera epidemics

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