Cocaine As An Anesthetic
Researchers spent much of the 19th century looking for various ways to mask the pain of surgery. In addition to ether, chloroform and nitrous oxide, one promising substance late in the century was cocaine (thanks in part to research by Dr. Sigmund Freud.) On this date in 1884, surgeon Dr. Carl Koller demonstrated cocaine as a topical, local anesthetic at the Heidelberg Congress of Ophthalmology. Fourteen years later, cocaine became the first drug injected into the spinal canal as an anesthetic, but was abandoned once safer, nonaddictive agents were developed.
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