Notes about two paintings in the
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Ogino Y.
Department of Anesthesia,
Kyoto City Hospital, Kyoto 604-8845.
Masui. 2001 Feb;50(2):203-9.


Two interesting mural-sized oil paintings hang in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in Boston. One is "The First Operation Under Ether" painted by Robert C. Hinckley in the nineteenth century, and the other is "The First Successful Kidney Transplantation" painted by Joel Babb in 1996. The theme of the former is the first operation with ether performed publicly on October 16, 1846, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. That of the latter is the first successful renal transplantation between identical twins performed at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital on December 23, 1954. "The First Operation Under Ether" was recreated by the painter, Robert Hinckley, who gathered information by himself about the event, which had occurred over three decades previously in his hometown. He seemed to have exercised some degree of artistic license in recreating the scene. On the other hand, "The First Successful Kidney Transplantation" was planned by the three doctors who were themselves involved in the memorable operation. The painter, Joel Babb, began to recreate the scene after he had been handed some sketches and photos of the event and several photos of the participants. In this case, it seems that authenticity was the main consideration.
John Collins Warren
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Crawford Williamson Long
Anaesthesia/16th October 1846
William T.G. Morton and "The Great Moment"
First use of anaesthetics in different countries
Early religious/military opposition to anaesthetics
Hinckley's oil painting "The First Operation Under Ether"

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