Our Ether 175 Virtual Event

On October 15 and October 16, 2021, the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (DACCPM) hosted a two-day virtual celebration to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Ether Day, the first successful public demonstration of the use of ether for surgical anesthesia.

The theme of the virtual celebration was, “MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” The event included an exciting overview of 175 years of anesthesiology at Mass General as well as a look into the future of the field.

Watch the Recorded Event

Day One: The History of Ether Anesthesia and a Look Inside the DACCPM

Day Two: The Broad Impact of the DACCPM on Anesthesiology Today

Day Two: The DACCPM and the Future of Anesthesiology

The First Successful Public Demonstration of Ether Takes Place at Massachusetts General Hospital

On October 16, 1846, the first successful public demonstration of the use of ether for surgical anesthesia was performed, making pain-free surgery possible. This historical event took place in the amphitheater on the 4th floor of the Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital. William Morton, a dentist from Hartford, Connecticut, came up with the idea of administering ether to a patient, Gilbert Abbott, so that Mass General surgeon, John Collins Warren, could painlessly remove a tumor from Mr. Abbott’s neck. The success of this event marked the birth of anesthesiology and transformed surgery from butchery and trauma, to a humane and often life-saving therapy.

Prior to this historic event, only one operation a week had been performed at Mass General since its opening in 1821. Success of the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia led to a significant increase in the number of daily operations. Moreover, news of Dr. Morton's success spread quickly throughout the world, thereby changing the surgical experience of patients forever! The amphitheater, now known as the Ether Dome, is a national historical monument.

Make a Gift

Matching Gift Opportunity Commemorates the 175th Anniversary of Ether and Creates a Legacy

Jeanine Wiener-Kronish, MD, former anesthetist-in-chief at Mass General, and Daniel Kronish, MD, have generously agreed to match gifts up to $100,000 to commemorate the 175th anniversary and celebration of ether as an anesthetic. This will establish the DACCPM 175th Ether Anniversary Endowed Fund, which will support departmental priorities. Please partner with us during this exciting time and help create a legacy!

For information on gifts of cash or stock, please email Bob O’Brien, director of development at Mass General.

Make a gift today