Good morning! 😊 It is Monday, August 30, 2021
If I asked you to tell me “When did the first surgery take place?” what would you do? Chances are you would grab your phone or turn to your keyboard and go to your favorite search-engine and, with a few strokes and clicks, you would have the answers.
The first evidence of a surgical procedure is that of trephining or cutting a small hole in the head. This procedure was practiced as early as 3000 BC and continued through the Middle Ages and even into the Renaissance. (Source hartfordstage.org)
Anesthesia was not the greatest either in those early days.
People, as early as 4000 BC, were using opium poppy to help with surgeries.
By 1600 BC Acupuncture
650 BC – 393 AD there were priestesses who would breathe fumes emanating from geologic fault lines. One of the inhaled gasses may have been ethylene, an inhalational anesthetic which would be popular clinically by the mid-1920s AD.
600 BC cannabis vapors to sedate surgical patients
400 BC Assyrians use carotid compression to produce brief unconsciousness before circumcision or cataract surgery. Egyptians employed the same technique for eye surgery.
207 AD Hua Tuo performed surgery with his general anesthetic Mafeisan, a wine and herbal mixture.
800 AD After herbal mixtures including opium, mandrake, henbane, and/or hemlock were steeped into a sleep-bearing sponge, the sponge was dampened so that anesthetic vapors or drippings could be applied to a patient’s nostrils. These sponges were likely historical cousins to the so-called Roman or Arabic sponges (used during crucifixions, surgeries, and other painful events).
1350 AD Inca shamans chewed coca leaves mixed with vegetable ash and dripped their cocaine-laden saliva into the wounds of patients.
1540 AD German physician and botanist Valerius Cordus synthesized diethyl ether by distilling ethanol and sulphuric acid into what he called “sweet oil of vitriol.”
1659 AD the future “Sir Christopher Wren” and Anglo-Irish chemist Robert Boyle pioneered intravenous therapy by injecting opium through a goose quill into a dog’s vein.
1771 – 1786 Joseph Priestley, an English chemist and natural philosopher, discovered “airs” of oxygen and nitrous oxide; the first to isolate oxygen.
1805 Pharmacist Friedrich Sertürner—Isolated a new substance from opium, which he later names “morphium” after Morpheus, the god of dreams.
1824 Henry Hill Hickman prescribed carbon dioxide anesthesia for animals.
1842 William Clarke, a medical student, etherized a single patient for a dental extraction.
March 30, 1842, Dr. Crawford Long, an American surgeon, made the first known use of ether as a general anesthetic.
1845 Dr. Horace Wells-After bravely volunteered to inhale nitrous oxide for his own dental extraction back in December of 1844. The partial anesthetic was judged a “humbug.”
A young American dentist named William Morton discovered general anesthesia. He found that when he inhaled sulfuric ether, he became unresponsive. A few months after this discovery on October 16, 1846, Morton successfully anesthetized a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital. (Source woodlibrarymuseum.org)
We have come a long way since 4000 BC!
But what if I told you there was a successful surgery with an anesthetized patient much earlier than 3000BC?! Not only that, but it was a transplant surgery!
It happened somewhere in the middle east, at best guess.
The first anesthesia and transplant surgery was not needed to fix a disease or set a broken bone. The first surgery was actually to create a woman and it took place in the Garden of Eden before sin took hold of our planet.
“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.” – Genesis 2:21-23
That is such a beautiful story! God could have spoken woman into existence. He could have formed her from the dust of the earth like he did Adam, but no, instead He did something very special, He made Eve a part of Adam.
Gen 2:24 says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
My friend Roger had a heart transplant just a few short years ago. He will always have a part of that person with him, a constant reminder of a selfless human who gave him a chance to live.
Eve always had a part of her husband with her. It was a reminder that they had become one flesh. It was a reminder of an all-powerful Creator God. Again, I think that is such an intimate look at our God.
But why a rib? Did you know that although all bones can repair themselves, ribs can regenerate themselves? Adam did not live the rest of his life with one less rib. Amazing!
I am sure there is much more to the story and someday I can ask God what the reason was, but for now I am content knowing He is a powerful and wonderful creator and we are wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14 ESV “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”