©Wellcome Library, London

First child born under anaesthesia

A portrait of Anaesthesia as a young girl. James Young Simpson discovered the anaesthetic effects of chloroform by accident when he and his assistants were experimenting with chemicals and somebody upset a bottle. When Simpson's wife brought in dinner she found them all asleep. Simpson was angered by the objection to chloroform in childbirth from those who quoted the biblical command, ‘In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children' (Genesis 3, verse 16). He made the point that the original meaning of sorrow was ‘labour' or ‘work' rather than pain, and argued that a loving God would not oppose pain relief in labour.

Source: The centenary of an inventor of sleep, 3 June 1911.