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Join us on January 17th as we delve into the life and groundbreaking achievements of Dr. Crawford W. Long, the man credited with the first use of surgical anesthesia. Crawford Long, a pioneering north Georgia physician, discovered anesthesia and left an indelible mark on medical history.

Born on November 1, 1815, in Danielsville, he pursued medical education at Transylvania College and the University of Pennsylvania. Long, who later established a medical practice in Jefferson in 1841, observed the effects of nitrous oxide and sulfuric ether during his studies, realizing their potential for anesthesia. On March 30, 1842, Long performed the first surgical procedure using sulfuric ether, removing a tumor from a young man’s neck. Despite skepticism from colleagues, he continued refining his use of anesthesia, extending it to obstetrical practice. Long’s reluctance to publish stemmed from a desire for certainty in his discovery. In 1849, he presented his findings to the Medical College of Georgia, learning of other claimants to anesthesia discovery. Long, motivated by recognition and patient welfare, published his account in 1849, facing an ongoing ether controversy.

He passed away on June 16, 1878, leaving a lasting legacy. Posthumously, the National Eclectic Medical Association declared him the discoverer of anesthesia in 1879. Today, Crawford Long is honored globally, commemorated through monuments, statues, a U.S. postage stamp, and Doctors’ Day on March 30, with a dedicated museum at his Jefferson practice site.


Get to know the speaker

In 2018, Marena Bleech achieved a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs. Her educational journey began at Emmanuel College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in History in 2016, earning the prestigious History Department Award for her scholarly accomplishments.

Since June 2023, Marena has held the position of Director at the Crawford W. Long Museum, showcasing her leadership skills. Prior to this role, she served as the Library Branch Manager at Jefferson Public Library for over three years.

Marena’s extensive academic background and practical experience contribute to her dynamic perspective as the Director of the Crawford W. Long Museum. Her dedication to preserving and sharing historical narratives is evident in both her academic achievements and professional roles, establishing her as a valuable asset to the field of museum studies.

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