Journal Mobile

JAW Wildsmith
Journal Issue: 
Volume 42: Issue 2: 2012



In 1884 a young Viennese doctor, Carl Koller, was the first to recognise the significance of the topical effects of the alkaloid cocaine and thus introduced drug-induced local anaesthesia to clinical practice. Most subsequent development took place in Europe and the United States, with British interest not becoming apparent for over twenty years. This is surprising because a number of doctors working in Scotland, or with Scottish connections, had made important contributions to the earlier evolution of local anaesthetic techniques. This paper reviews the relevant work of James Young Simpson, Alexander Wood, James Arnott, Benjamin Ward Richardson and Alexander Hughes Bennett and the role of John William Struthers in the later promotion of the techniques.