October 10, 2014
Wartime anesthesia on display at The National WWII Museum
People interested in how medicine was practiced 70 years ago will find World War II-era equipment, manuals and photos illustrating how anesthesia was used on the battlefield and in the operating room (O.R.) during a five-day exhibit this month at The National WWII Museum. The exhibit will run October 10-14.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology is presenting the artifacts in conjunction with the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2014 annual meeting.
The exhibit will feature a variety of anesthesia devices and equipment used in Europe during the war, including a device used by British parachute troops, U.S. military ether cans and original anesthesia training course manuals. iPads will play 12 different videos about anesthesiology and the war.
At the beginning of World War II, there were only about 500 physician anesthesiologists in the United States, and the medical specialty was not well developed, said David Waisel, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and a military anesthesia expert.
“Physician anesthesiologists were scarce and American military hospitals had inadequately trained and inexperienced professionals administering anesthesia,” he said. The military organized training during the war and the number of physician anesthesiologists in the United States jumped to 2,000 by war’s end.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the Wood-Library Museum of Anesthesiology and the American Society of Anesthesiologists® on this exciting collaboration,” said Toni Kiser of The National WWII Museum. “The exhibit truly takes us back in time and shows us how the war affected anesthesiology and, in turn, how anesthesia practices affected the war.”
High-resolution images of the exhibit items are available upon request.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.